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Retail multiples’ store numbers flat in 2012


Multiple retailers kept their store numbers flat in 2012 despite high numbers of administrations, according to recent research.

Following a year in which retail administrations were up by six per cent, retail multiples saw their total store numbers increase by a minimal 0.02 per cent, research from CBRE and Retail Locations shows.

According to CBRE’s Chain Expansion Quarterly survey, a total of 194 retailers fell into administration in 2012, including Blacks, Clinton Cards, Peacocks, La Senza, Game, Comet and JJB Sports.

But the number of stores operated by retail multiples did not decline, and the amount of multiple floorspace being added increased faster than the rate of branch addition as those retailers which were expanding tended to add larger than average stores.

Commenting on the results, Jonathan De Mello, Head of Retail Consultancy at CBRE, said: “Very little new primary retail space is coming on stream and as a result performance in the UK’s top retail centres – such as the West End and major regional malls, continues to grow.

“The rest of the market however is awash with obsolete secondary high street space that multiple retailers can no longer trade from.

“It is inevitable, as the amount of productive space available continues to dwindle, that retail expansion activity will continue to slow too.”

But Melitta Berrino, Senior Partner at Retail Locations, argued that it was service multiples who were suffering most, having seen shop numbers decline by 1.5 per cent in 2012.

Services such as banks and travel agents are easily transferable to the internet, and this trend will continue in 2013, while retail multiples will be less affected.

Berrino commented: “As much of the low hanging fruit on the electronically transferable side has already been plucked, and the main retail internet growth area is click-and-collect (which is branch dependent) not home delivery, branch growth trends going forward look set to be influenced much more by economic growth trends generally than by the internet.”

Published on Friday 11 January by Editorial Assistant

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