The largest shopping center to open this year is Westfield Bradford, totaling 53,000 sq m, brought forward by Meyer Bergman and Westfield. Image: Westfield

Shopping center development in the UK is increasing

The UK shopping center development pipeline currently stands at 890,000 sq m to the end of 2018, according to research published from DTZ.

This figure consists of schemes that are either under construction or with consent and likely to proceed. The pipeline increases to 1.48 million sq m when looking at all schemes to 2021, including those that may not necessarily go ahead or with timescales that are subject to change. There are nine schemes under construction and due to open in the remainder of 2015, totaling approximately 167,225 sq m. The largest of these is Westfield Bradford, totaling 53,000 sq m, brought forward by Meyer Bergman and Westfield.

In an evolving dynamic, city-center schemes are now coming forward without a typical anchor, instead having a strong collection of Medium Sized Unit fashion operators such as Primark or Next as the footfall drivers, together with significant leisure elements and a high-quality public realm.

Trend for mixed-used schemes

John Percy, Head of Retail Development at DTZ, commented: “The outlook for retail property development is improving as investor risk appetite moves outward and the size of the pipeline is testament to this. The trend, however, is for mixed-used city schemes incorporating residential, retail, and leisure. The latter being the more dominant and complimentary use in shopping center projects. The argument as to retail anchors is an interesting one, particularly in the multi-channel age, where experience is arguably more important than the broadest range.”

Jonathan Rumsey, Head of Retail Market Analysis at DTZ, added: “Retail sales as measured by the ONS have seen 27 months of consecutive year-on-year growth, the longest sustained period of growth since 2008. Low inflation, rising employment, and real wage growth has led to increased consumer confidence, while vacancy rates remain at their lowest since 2010. A healthy 168,000 sq m of development is due to come online during the remainder of this year, with a total 890,000 sq m by the end of 2018.”

Occupationally, retailers are acting positively by making strategic occupational property direction decisions against a strong macroeconomic position. This positivity has seen the list of retailers acquiring floor space continue to grow, examples of this trend being the new entrants Pep & Co. and Ikea.

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