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Stores snap up space at UK's retail parks

Published: 21 June 2011
The number of empty units in retail parks has dropped as more high street retailers make the move to out-of-town stores.
The vacancy rate fell to 9.2% at the end of 2010, 20% down on last year's figure (11.6%) and well below the mid-2009 peak of 11.8%.

According to property research group Trevor Wood Associates, the decline in vacancy rates is thanks to increasing demand for out-of-town sites from high street retailers like Argos and Next, and budget retailers such as Home Bargains.

As many stores have been vacated by companies which entered administration, such as Land of Leather and Focus, expanding retailers have been snapping up space.

Dynamic comparison goods retailers including Argos, Homebase, Best Buy, Dunelm, Homesense and The Range occupied 2.7m sq ft of vacant retail park space during the past 18 months, resulting in more space taken than became available for the second year running.

B&Q is the largest non-food retail park tenant, with 7.5m sq ft on retail parks, followed by Homebase with 5.3m sq ft. The most significant growth in the top 30 tenants is by B&M, which has increased its floorspace by 33%. B&M bought 11 Focus stores after the retailer collapsed in May.

Trevor Wood, of Trevor Wood Associates, commented: "The overall benefits of accessibility, parking, rents and footfall means that despite the administrations and disposals by many retailers considerably increasing the amount of space available, the demand from dynamic retailers means vacancy levels have dropped for the second year running."

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