Retail warehouse vacancies drops to 20-year low

The current retail warehouse vacancy rate stands at 5.3 per cent, the best and lowest rate in 20 years.

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Retail warehouse vacancy rates have dropped to their lowest rate in 20 years.
(Image: Shutterstock)

Retail warehouse vacancy rates have dropped to their lowest level in nearly 20 years and their “future looks positive”, new research suggests.

According to Trevor Woods Associates’ Definitive Guide to Retail and Leisure Parks, last year saw a 10 per cent decline in warehouse vacancies, marking the lowest point since its records began in 2001.

Despite the collapse of large-scale retailers like BHS, Brantano and Staples, demand for out-of-town retail locations continues to boom and the current vacancy rate stands at 5.3 per cent.

Over the last year, 39 out of the UK’s top 50 non-food retailers increased their presence in out-of-town retail locations, and more than five million sq ft of floor space was acquired.

READ MORE: Debenhams eyes closure of 11 warehouses and 10 UK stores

Despite the number of parks charging peak rent levels rising by 15 per cent, supply and demand meant rent levels stayed relatively stable in comparison to high street locations.

“This analysis shows that the retail warehouse market is buoyant and vacancy rates look set to improve over the coming year with numerous store openings proposed,” Trevor Woods Associates founder Trevor Wood said.

“The future looks positive, particularly when you consider that we have featured 113 schemes thought likely to proceed before 2023 in our development pipeline.

“This pipeline is greater than at any time since our 2008 review when the vacancy rate was recorded at 8.3 per cent and rising whereas now it is 5.3 per cent and falling.”

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