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New UK retail property classification proposed

Revo, the retail property organisation, has launched an industry-wide consultation on a new formal classification structure for retail properties in the UK.

The organisation said the new classification will reflect the diversity of retail asset purposes in the UK today.

“The retail landscape has undergone monumental change in the last five years, and the way that we as an industry describe retail assets needs to follow suit,” said Revo president Mark Williams. “The descriptions ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ are anachronistic, subjective and too simplistic. We need a wider, more objective range of categories, which recognises that different locations fulfil different consumer needs, and which will support a more accurate assessment of assets. Investors, banks, analysts and valuers are all asking for better clarification, and this will provide it.”

The UK currently uses the International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC) classification but, unlike ICSC’s US classification, the European equivalent is focused mainly on the size of the scheme and does not take into account the specific characteristics of different types of shopping centres. There is no UK-only classification.

Its proposed classification splits centres into three broad categories of regional, local and specialised, with further sub-categories to provide clarity over purpose and function.

Revo is aiming to publish the new classification at its annual conference, which takes place in Manchester on 18-20 September, subject to feedback.


CategoryDefinitionTypical sizeTypical AnchorsCatchment area/drive time
Regional (Schemes serving customers from a larger region/beyond town area)
Super Regional Centre Standalone “destination” shopping centre characterised by exceptional retail and leisure offer, serving large catchment area. Typically anchored by two (or more) department stores. Long dwell times, high footfall, typically used for monthly/quarterly shopping trips. High usage of F&B and leisure offer.  1 million sq ft+ 2+ dept. store anchors 1hr+ drive time penetration
Mid-Regional Centre Principal retail offer in major city centre locations (top 25) or smaller standalone, with strong retail and leisure offer, serving large catchment area. Typically anchored by major department store with strong supporting fashion and well-used leisure offer. Typically used for weekly/monthly shopping trips.  750,000 sq ft + 1+ major anchor stores Up to 1 hr drive time penetration
Sub Regional Centre Principal retail offer in large city/town centre locations (ranked 25-50), with strong anchor store and predominantly supporting fashion (wants) focus. Appropriate supporting leisure offer. Typically used for weekly shopping trips.  500,000 sq ft+ 1 strong anchor store Up to 45 min drive time penetration
Local (Schemes oriented toward local customers)
Community Centre The principal shopping destination for the immediate catchment, used for daily /weekly shopping trips, with a strong representation from “needs” based retailers. Likely to be the commercial focus and foremost retailing pitch in the town. Highly likely to incorporate the town’s main shoppers’ car park. 250,000 sq ft+ - Catchment typically less than 30 minutes-drive time
Neighbourhood Centre A centre which constitutes a non-dominant part of the town’s wider retail offer, or the dominant retail offer in a smaller catchment, playing an important but not necessary principal role in retailing in the area. 100-250,000 sq ft - Catchment typically less than 15 minutes-drive time, or pedestrian access
Convenience Centre Convenience Centre – easily accessible, serving the daily needs of the direct local catchment. Highly likely to be underpinned by strong supermarket offer.  <100,000 sq ft (in addition to anchor store) Typically supermarket anchored Serving just the immediate locality
Specialised-purpose centres
Outlet Mall Specialist Centre that comprises manufacturers’ and retailers’ outlet stores, typically let on flexible/turnover leases, offering  brand-name goods at discounted pricing.
London Suburban Centre Local catchment-focused town centre schemes, 200,000 sq ft+, predominant offer within densely populated area. 
Transport Hub Retail in public transport networks: airports, railway stations, tube stations

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