Retail Riding High

The property market has seen much awaited growth over the last 18 months which has given our clients the confidence to instigate countless developments throughout the UK as well as heightened investment. Not only has this anticipated change completely transformed our industry for the good, but it has had a knock-on effect on economic growth, retail sales and occupational opportunity.

Savills reported in 2015 that investment in the UK shopping centre market was to exceed £6.5bn with later reports confirming, which, in comparison to the previous year, is staggering at over +71%. The intensity of the shopping centre investment market is constantly strengthening and 2016 is predicted to be no different.

As a business, Foundation Recruitment is collaborating with a number of industry leading landlords and managing agents on current vacancies newly created by developments, investments and team expansions, which has demonstrated how not only the property market is moving quickly but recruitment is following the trend too. Well publicised upcoming and present developments and new launches such as Hammerson’s Victoria Gate, Westfield’s Bradford Broadway, Land Securities’ Westgate, Queensbury’s Friars Walk, and Wykeland Group’s Flemingate, ensure the next 5 years forecast masses of new ventures as well as occupational growth and retail sales. This, affecting the direct locations as well as the coinciding catchments will inevitably lead to increased turnover and portfolio asset value for industry landlords as well as more opportunity for shopping centre management professionals and individuals looking to pursue the industry.

The enhanced investment in our industry and the property sector as a whole is therefore having a knock-on effect on economic growth which in essence is heightening consumer confidence, job stability and overall opportunity. It was reported in Shopping Centre Magazine that the sheer volume of investment within our market, combined with even greater corporate investment, has completely transformed the UK Vitality Index with major cities specific to key regions competing to be labelled as having the best prospects for economic growth. This, measured by a combination of growth, education, prosperity and the location’s environmental footprint has shown Guildford nudge Cambridge from the top spot. Guildford managed to achieve number one in the UK following the confirmation of the massive £150mn regeneration project around the central railway station. The South East, as widely documented, will remain the highest performing in terms of both the Index ranking and business turnover for the immediate ­­­future however, further regions and cities are gaining momentum including Manchester, York, Derby and Northampton. So the question now is, will Guildford be knocked off the top spot? Any which city, if any, has outdone Guildford’s extensive investment and growth plans for the future?

To date, the sustained economic growth in a wide number of regions has given consumers the confidence to spend, and spend consistently more nationwide. It was reported by ONS that December 2015 saw a +2.6% in quantity of retail sales in comparison to 2014 which was not surprisingly the 32nd consecutive month to experience growth year on year. Following a highly successful 2015, the Office for National Statistics stated a substantial +1.4% year on year for retail sales for December alone which in comparison to previous years is significant. As long as consumers continue to spend, landlords will continue to invest and the economy will continue to grow.

The property and shopping centre market had seen masses of improvement over the past 2 years and the sheer amount of investment in the industry has facilitated economic growth throughout the UK. This has inevitably had a knock-on effect on occupational stability and consumer confidence, thus increasing retail sales, business turnover and asset value. As a specialist recruitment consultancy immersed in the sector and operating only in the built environment, the significant amount of opportunity for professionals in the industry is genuinely exciting.

Alex Rowbottom, Head of Destination Management, Foundation Recruitment 

Foundation Recruitment staff portraits

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