Buoyant figures from Savills suggest that UK shopping centres will continue to enjoy increased turnover over coming years.
But could the megatrend of online shopping cause a deceleration in shopping centre investment sooner than many believe?
Lester Hampson, head of retail development at Land Securities argues that there are not enough modern, well-designed centres which meet retailers’ requirements.
He believes that the human need for social interaction ensures their future but admitted: “Visiting a shopping centre is no longer necessary if you wish to simply make a purchase.”
Doom-mongers have been prophesising the demise of the shopping centre for years but they have fought back with food and drink outlets, click and collect hubs and navigation technology. Intu is ploughing £1bn into extension and modernisation schemes from Watford to Lakeside and from Glasgow Braehead to Stoke-On-Trent.
Mat Oakley, head of commercial research at Savills commented: “While the proportion of retail sales that is spent online has been rising, so has total spending. This means that the tills in the nation’s shopping centres should continue to ring merrily.”
Westfield and Intu appear safe from changing consumer habits but the many hundreds of less modern centres could struggle as online asserts itself as the retail channel.