Retail parks are likely to lead the retail recovery and will emerge from the downturn as a more attractive shopping destination than traditional town centre locations, according to a report by Verdict Research.
As a result of increased investment by landlords and improvements to the mix of retailers and facilities on offer in retail parks, Verdict expects out-of-town retail sales to grow by 23.2% over the next five years against 0.4% sales growth in town centres.
The Verdict report will suprise the industry, as out-of-town retailing is understood to have fared worse than town centres in recent months with shoppers opting to go to local high streets over driving long distances to retail parks because of rising petrol prices.
"Out-of-town retailing will have to become a more attractive shopping location, appealing to a broader spectrum of society and shoppers," said Malcolm Pinkerton, senior analyst at Verdict Research and author of the report.
"The key to its future growth lies in improving facilities and a greater choice of shops that collectively generate high levels of footfall, longer dwell times and higher spend per head," Pinkerton added.
Richard Lowe, head of retail and wholesale for London at Barclays Commercial Bank, added: "Out-of-town retailers are well poised to take advantage of the upswing that will follow the current challenging economic conditions. The sheer amount of space in out-of-town retail parks provides retailers with the opportunity to broaden and diversify their offering to customers."
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