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Retailers’ changing needs are transforming the property market

This is an interesting time for UK retail, with the high street undergoing a metamorphosis.

Because of persistent and increased competition from etailers, the prevalence of out-of-town shopping and retailers slimming down their bricks-and-mortar property portfolios to focus on key shopping cities, the polarisation between primary, secondary or tertiary locations continues at pace.

Add to this the increasingly international perspective of our home-grown retail heavyweights, and the multiple considerations weighing down on decisions over where to operate stores becomes all too clear.

So with this in mind we take a closer look at the property strategies employed by fashion retailers. Gone are the 500 to 600-strong store portfolios of yesteryear - in the main at least - in favour of reduced store estates with representation in London and the key regional cities and shopping centres, coupled with a healthy online offer.

This, of course, has had a knock-on effect on the requirements of those stores, which increasingly act as brand showcases to generate interest and brand engagement, and drive footfall both off and online. We analyse where retailers are choosing to locate these flagships, the interiors and visual merchandising techniques they are opting for to create an experiential shopping environment and, most importantly, how those stores are then providing a return on investment.

And these stores aren’t just designed to appeal to the domestic consumer, but to the international shopper too. With a flat market at home, global retailing is big business. We examine four key markets - Germany, China, India and the US - to find out which routes to market retailers are taking and the potential for success.

Closer to home, the UK designer outlet sector may be mature, but with new centres opening such as the London Designer Outlet in Wembley and a raft of extensions planned at existing outlets, demand continues to be strong. We explore where those developments are and their potential for fashion retailers.

Lastly, while the economy gathers pace again following a long period of sluggishness, the retail property pipeline looks to be following suit with a number of developments and extensions planned. We pick out the ones to watch.

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