The increasing number of retailers prioritising prime store locations and rise of online shopping continues to impact demand for premises, with new data indicating that stores vacant for more than two years have risen by 20 per cent.
According to research from commercial property consultancy Colliers International, because retailers are focusing their resources on opening up shops in prestigious or popular locations, prime shop vacancy is down 0.2 per cent.
However, rents for top-tier properties have also grown by 1.8 per cent in the year to April – the largest increase since 2008.
“But the proportion of the 420 locations we monitor which saw rents fall more than doubled, while the volume of shops that have been vacant for more than a year increased by 20 per cent,” Colliers International’s head of UK retail Mark Phillipson said.
“Both these measures had been previously improving during the past two years, and this reverse signals a step-change which is widening the gulf between the best and the rest.”
Colliers’ head of central London retail Paul Souber added that while the UK capital was still a “phenomenally strong” place for shopping and retail, the market has cooled.
“The more positive news is that the capital is still creating new flourishing pitches,” he said.
“The shopping offer on Tottenham Court Road is being transformed and we’ve seen top rents on the street increase by 7.5 per cent – more than double the London average.”