Living with the new normal

The clock is ticking for UK secondary shopping centres

Secondary shopping centres are visibly starting to struggle. Their market position is now increasingly undermined by the growth of online sales and the preference of consumers for more convenient retail parks and “go-to” destinations with leisure offerings.


Based on the recent trend in the wider retail sector, Deloitte predicts that between 2018 and 2020 UK retail will see 27,000 net store closures.

As a result of the closures, we predict that secondary shopping centre vacancy rates will rise to more than 25% by 2020.

The range of alternative tenants and the menu of traditional asset management initiatives is diminishing, forcing owners to fill the vacated space with low‑rental booths and even lower‑rental market stalls, charity shops and council offices.

To do list:

By evaluating the whole range of asset management initiatives, owners can respond by undertaking realistic appraisals of the centre’s options and exit strategies.
Lenders need to make the same all-encompassing appraisals as owners, ensuring they have up to date management information and are in regular “business as usual” dialogue with their borrowers.

Some shopping centre owners have responded creatively to their troubles, and some have succeeded in turning around their fortunes, others have not.

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