Retail’s three-way split over property

THE RETAIL sector is split in an almost perfect three way divide over what to do with bricks & mortar property, a report from Top 100 law firm Foot Anstey has revealed.

Despite news of store closures and Company Voluntary Arrangements, a surprising two thirds of senior retail sector leaders plan to either invest in new property or develop their property portfolio. Just one third plan to close stores.

And of that one third looking to downsize, just 12% are blaming the rise of online.

The surprise findings are detailed in the Foot Anstey Retail Report 2018: Property based on an in-depth survey of senior leaders in the UK retail sector.

Foot Anstey's Head of RetailPatrick Howarth, said: "It's fair to say we were not expecting this result to come back. Anyone following retail news would be certain the story would be of restructure.

"That two thirds are looking to grow their portfolio or develop it is perhaps a reflection of something we spotted in the last report – retailers believe shopper experience is the most important factor, even more than price.

"Perhaps most importantly, there's a reassuring resilience to the sector. It clearly believes in remaining a profitable, physical presence in our lives."

Other findings from the survey include:

  • 42% find break clauses and subletting legal obstacles to reshaping a portfolio
  • Robots in customer service got the biggest negative response for any tech innovation
  • Almost half think delivery drones will become significant

This is the second Foot Anstey Retail Report 2018. The first, People, was issued in June. The third, Brand will be issued later in the year.

Download the report here.