New research has shown that out of town retailers employ 725,000 people on an average working day.
A report commissioned by Accessible Retail (AR) has found that on average the out-of-town retailers employ hundreds of thousands of people; as much as 800,000 during more difficult sales periods. Carried out by CBRE, the report is designed to aid Accessible Retail in its attempts to showcase the importance and value of the sector to the UK government.
However, concerns remain about the growth of such retailers, particularly from high street names. In September the Association of Convenience Stores issued a warning against a government plan to change Sunday trading hours, saying this it would push customers towards out-of-town centres rather than the high street.
In the past CBRE research has shown that the out of town retail sector has greater prime investment property value than high streets and shopping centres, that they grow at a faster rate, and that they are more resilient during recessions.
That is not to say they are invulnerable; just like the high street, shopping centres have suffered from a decline in footfall, as more customers shop online. A number of them have begun utilising technology, such as bargain finding apps, to encourage shoppers to return.
“Previous research showed the important contribution the retail parks and warehouses sector makes to securing the financial future of millions of pensioners and holders of life insurance policies,” said AR Chief Executive Will McKee.
“This new research shows its important role in providing jobs at all levels for all the people of the UK. Taking all this together, our sector makes a significant overall contribution to the prosperity of UK plc.”