New research, released by the Local Data Company and Bira on 28 May 2019, shows that 2018 saw growth in the number of independent stores in shopping centres, with 1,951 new openings leading to a net gain of +87 (+1.1%) compared to a net decline of -88 in 2017 (-1.1%).
The data shows that indie retailers played a key role in replacing the net loss of -811 chains in UK shopping centres in 2018. Owners of shopping centres are adapting to the changing face of retail by getting creative with their vacant real estate. Many are splitting up the large stores left empty by retail chains into smaller lots geared towards independent occupiers.
These figures come on the back of recently released data showing an increase of independent store openings on the high street. Read the full story of high-street openings here.
Lucy Stainton, head of retail and strategic partnerships at the Local Data Company commented: “2018 saw many well-known brands exit the high street and rationalise estates of bricks and mortar stores.
“A by-product of this activity was a plethora of units in prime locations coming into the market, which agile entrepreneurs have been quick to reoccupy. This, combined with more a creative approach to property by shopping centre managers has resulted in a new breed of independent shopping centre occupiers.
“Increasing independent businesses in these assets has benefits for the owner, bringing diversity and differentiation into the retail offer. For independent business owners, the benefits include increased footfall and access to marketing via promotional websites and campaigns,” concluded Stainton.