Analysis: Retail parks go from strength to strength
Some aggressive asset management by owners, including sustained demands for broader consents -allowing for a wider use of units beyond just for bulky goods - has allowed retailers traditionally wedded to the high street to consider out-of-town properties.
Over the past years, the mix of tenants in retail parks has become increasingly attractive to a variety of retailers.
Whereas retail parks’ early years were all about bulky goods - furniture, DIY and electricals - a decade ago the tenant mix started to change markedly, gradually introducing a softer mix including Boots, fashion retailers such as Next, food offers and department stores.
The advantages of retail parks are clear. Jeremy Collins, property director at John Lewis, says: “The primary USP of retail parks has been and remains convenience for both customers and retailers. Ease of access and free parking are considerable advantages.”Out-of-town retailing used to be all about DIY retailers, but nowadays the mix is varied - babycare retailer Kiddicare and pets specialist Pets at Home are just two recent successes.
Analysis: Retail parks go from strength to strength | Analysis | Retail Week
The pros and cons of retail parks in the UK
Created on: August 05, 2012 Last Updated: August 09, 2012
Over the last thirty years the United Kingdom has seen a growth in retail parks across the nation. Most of these parks are sited just outside of major towns. Usually these parks play host to most of the big High Street stores.
There are several advantages of a retail park. The first and foremost there is plenty free parking and it is easy to find and drive to. For the retailer there is usually more space and it is easy to load and unload goods. In many cases the rates may be cheaper than the High Street. Most retail parks offer a wide range of businesses in large airy premises.
The pros for the consumer are he does not need to drive right into town. He also does not have the addition expense of paying to park or driving around endlessly looking for a parking space. All the stores are close together which reduces walking and time. It also alleviates carrying heavy shopping far as the car will be nearby.
The disadvantages of retails parks are: Over the last few years there has been a decline in the High Street which has affected a great many towns. Some towns look like ghost towns with many stores bordered up. Some of the few shops remaining open are run by charities such as; Age Concern or Oxfam. All the big stores have moved out to take advantages of the retail parks.
This situation has caused a loss of community, as few people now bother to go into town centres. Town centres have historically been the focus of local communities and this has slowly died. Another disadvantage in a small country like the United Kingdom where land is at premium retail parks take up several acres of land that could be used for domestic and social housing.
Another disadvantage to the consumer is the retail parks cater for big retail businesses and there little room for small retailers and market stalls.
There recently has been a government survey to discover why town centres are in decay. The findings are council charge too much in business rates and the consumer quite often has to pay high car parking charges. Coupled with the extra driving and problems with parking once having arrived in the centre of town, it is easy to see why retail parks are popular with the shopper.
The government has much to rebuild local communities and to entice people once again back into the centre of our towns