UK retail space could shrink by 20%, says British Land CEO

UK retail space could shrink by 20%, says British Land CEO
British Land, which owns Meadowhall in Sheffield, recently revealed that the value of its retail properties had been wiped out £599m.
// 1/5 of shops could vanish as high street declines, British Land CEO Chris Grigg warns
// British Land is seeking to reduce its exposure to retail property

Around 20 per cent of retail space on high streets around the UK are at risk of being lost, the head of British Land has warned.

Speaking in an interview for the Leading with James Ashton podcast, British Land chief executive Chris Grigg warned that the troubles facing bricks-and-mortar retailers were far from over.

He also suggested that the rise of online shopping was putting the industry under threat.

READ MORE: Profits down at British Land as retail property value drops 10%

“If we do the basic maths, are we going to see 20 per cent less of shops over time? That wouldn’t seem at all surprising to me,” Grigg said.

He added: “Overall, there is no question that when this is all said and done there will be fewer shops, on average those shops will be smaller and actually they will be better at serving the consumer because the others will die.”

British Land is among the many retail landlords that have came under pressure in the wake of writedowns in retail property value as a result of the surge in CVAs and administrations in the past year or two.

In its half-year report in November, British Land revealed that the value of its retail properties had fallen 10.7 per cent to £4.8 billion.

This decline equates to a wipe out of £599 million in retail property value just for the six-month period ending September.

The half-year report also saw British Land, which owns Meadowhall in Sheffield and the Broadgate Estate in London, report a pre-tax loss of £440 million overall.

British Land is now in the midst of a five-year strategy that will see it dramatically downsize its retail property portfolio from 45 per cent of its total portfolio to between 30 per cent and 35 per cent.

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