UK retail parks to outperform high streets

arena shopping centreUK retail parks are expected to grow at a faster rate than high streets, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.

A latest report from the company showed the UK retail parks market is expected to grow by 13.8 per cent between 2017 and 2022, with the sector set to outperform the high street. 

GlobalData stated the growth of retail parks – an unenclosed shopping centre or shopping development situated outside a town or city, typically containing a number of large chain stores – will be driven by new retail parks and extensions of existing ones.

Overall, the research indicated, retail parks are becoming more attractive to shoppers as they become less dominated by traditional out-of-town retailers within sectors such as electricals and DIY and gardening, and more by high street retailers in clothing and footwear as well as health and beauty like Next and Boots.

According to the consulting firm’s 2000-respondent survey, 90 per cent of consumers have shopped at a retail park in the last 12 months, with 54.3 per cent visiting at least once a month, illustrating their broad customer appeal.

“The retail parks landscape is changing drastically as discounters in particular are rapidly expanding their share of the market. Indeed, retailers such as Aldi, Lidl, Home Bargains, and Poundland have grown their presence, leveraging their low price points to draw in shoppers,” said Charlotte Pearce, retail analyst for GlobalData.

Pearce said over the next five years, discounters will increase their share of the market by six per cent  rising to account for 20.3 per cent of retail park sales.

“This will demonstrate their ability to attract a broad range of shoppers and generate high footfall,” she said.

By contrast, traditional retail park sectors have seen their share of the overall market decrease over the past five years, with electricals’ share falling by three percentage points and DIY and gardening dropping by one percentage point, according to GlobalData.

Clothing and footwear retailers need to take advantage of the diversification of the retail park tenant mix away from more traditional sectors, the study indicates. Securing openings at new or expanding retail parks will allow a retailer to benefit from first mover advantage by having almost total control of the market at that location, as retailers here do not suffer from the high level of competition seen on high streets and in shopping centres.

“Despite the clear opportunities offered by retail parks, offline retail remains a challenge as consumers continue to shop online,” Pearce said. “Retailers must embrace multichannel and support the growth of click and collect in stores, highlighting the convenience of retail park stores for consumers, such as free parking and ease of access.”

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