Although the economic downturn has proved difficult for many retailers, the number of companies going into administration has created opportunities that stronger firms can take advantage of.
This is among the findings of the National Retail Barometer published recently by Colliers International, with the organisation commenting that prime properties are coming back on to the market following store closures and this has "opened up opportunities for retailers with a healthier financial standing to take advantage of new prime locations".
Nationally, void rates stood at 13.4 per cent in April this year, the firm revealed, up from the 12.7 per cent recorded six months earlier. However, there is a disparity between the vacancy rate posted for prime properties and those in less desirable locations. In the former, vacancy rates stood at 9.2 per cent in April, while in the latter this figure was 16.2 per cent. Interestingly, Colliers International drew attention to the fact that void rates increased among prime outlets (by 2.1 per cent in the six months from October), while they actually dropped marginally for non-prime premises (down from 16.5 per cent).
The firm asserted that there is "a vast oversupply of secondary retail stock around the UK", with the increasing number of available properties in desirable locations enabling retailers to "trade-up from less attractive secondary areas and benefit from larger units and/or greater footfall".
In its latest Spotlight on UK Shopping Centre Investment report, Savills pointed to the growing gap between prime and tertiary assets. It revealed there is a disparity of 1,000 basis points between the yields for super prime units - which stood at five per cent in the second quarter of this year - and those in tertiary locations, where yields hit 14 per cent in the same period. The volume of money ploughed into shopping centres was less than GBP 1 billion in the first half of 2012. Savills suggested one of the reasons for the lack of deals is the availability of suitable stock, with banks preferring to opt for asset reviews with borrowers, rather than releasing properties back on to the market.