Harper Dennis Hobbs reveals appetite for shop launches


Despite last week’s reports of ‘retailers closing 14 stores a day’, the future of the UK and European retail property market still holds great potential for landlords – for those prepared to work in closer collaboration with brands.


On the eve of MAPIC Independent retail real estate agency Harper Dennis Hobbs has confirmed its clients want to open just over 650 new stores across the UK and Europe next year, including on the high street, in shopping centres, travel hubs, out of town shopping parks and factory outlets.


But, as the firm’s CEO James Ebel explains, this figure could be much higher if landlords played a more active role in making their units more attractive to brands, rather than leaving them to mothball.


“Despite endless reports about the apparently dismal state of the high street, it is reassuring to see that following an audit of our clients’ requirements for retail space across the UK and Europe for 2019 that demand could be satisfied. However, this relies on landlords being prepared to be amenable to flexible terms and rents, amongst other external factors,” he said.


“It is a sign of their resilience and confidence in the market that brands are prepared to invest in bricks-and-mortar stores – yet there’s no denying that trading conditions remain challenging, with business rates still incredibly high and taxation on the high street causing headaches for retailers.


“The question now is what commercial landlords and agents can do to help retailers succeed. I firmly believe experts in the property sector can lead the way and add value with fresh ideas to boost the appeal of having a high street presence.


“Even though our portfolio of clients is strong, the fact is that units will remain un-let if we can’t secure the right space with the right terms and rental deal.”


Harper Dennis Hobbs is exhibiting at MAPIC (14th-16th November) on Stand R7.C7, where its team will be on hand to discuss opportunities across all markets.

MAPIC is the leading international retail real estate event for key property players to build the ultimate retail and leisure mix in order to become a complete lifestyle destination.

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