Leasing Booms Across the UK

Despite the threat of online, uncertain consumer behaviour and rising operational costs, prime, high footfall retail space continues to be attractive to retail and leisure brands.

Last year, intu properties reported that 2017 resulted in an increased profit of £31m, finishing the year with a total profit of £203m. Rental income grew by 0.5% which brings the third year of consecutive growth, with occupancy holding a stable average of 96.1%.

Hammerson has reported that the first 3 months of 2018 has been strong, with leases signed across the group totalling £7 million, a 59% increase in comparison to Q1 2017. Over Easter weekend this year, Hammerson’s UK centres enjoyed high footfalls, up 5.3% compared to the Easter weekend last year.

Westfield has reported that their Westfield London centre will become Europe’s largest shopping centre once its £600 million expansion opens! They have got a range of retailers joining with new leases including John Lewis and Primark with particular big units, 230,000 sqft and 70,000 sqft respectively.

A day doesn’t seem to pass without a news story being released of a new letting. Just this last week Shopping Centre magazine has reported a whole host of new lettings including; Showcase Cinema de Lux at Brent Cross, Fortnum & Mason at The Royal Exchange and Clifton Down shopping centre in Bristol now fully let to a mix of national and independent brands after a recent flurry of new lettings!

Shopping centres are expanding and developing across the country – click here to read all about the upcoming developments. The retail expansions are demonstrating confidence in the leasing market, with much of the developing space being pre-let before completion.

The shopping centre industry is set for an interesting year with the merge of intu and Hammerson and Unibail-Rodamco and Westfield being key activities in the market. The challenges facing the high-street continue, which hasn’t been helped by the recent cold weather impacting footfall. That said, prime destinations continue to enjoy strong levels of footfall, high occupancy levels and are in a position to grow. The leisure and varied mix of tenants seem to be the future – I’m looking forward to watching the retail landscape diversify and develop further this year.

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