The UK retail sector is starting to shrug off the effects of the economic slump, with demand for shop property rising by the highest levels since 1998, according to research by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
Interest in renting shop premises “jumped considerably” in the third quarter of the year RICS claimed, with 27% more chartered surveyors reporting rises rather than declines in demand during the three months to the end of October. This is the biggest jump since records began in 1998.
Every part of the country saw an increase in demand, with London seeing “the most notable growth”. The amount of new retail space being built also rose, with a net balance of 6%.
RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said the change in appetite for retail space was “broadly reflective of the improved trend in high street spending”.
He added: “While demand is still historically very low, this sizable jump in interest from potential retail tenants does represent a welcome sign that the worst could now be over for the high street.
“That does not, however, mean that the big challenges facing the sector have disappeared. Rent expectations are still largely soft away from the South East part of the country and it is mainly in London where the numbers are strongly positive.”