Retail park closures ‘drive away sales’
Written by Peter Walker
The demise of retailers including Toys R Us and Maplin has driven sales away from retail parks, where non-food sales declined by 1.1 per cent in 2018 – the worst performance over the past five years.
This is according to market analysis from GlobalData, which suggested that despite a challenging 2018, retail parks will experience decent growth over the next five years, with spend rising £4.1 billion to reach £52.8 billion by 2023.
However, the research data company also stated that spending growth at retail parks will still outstrip that of town centres and the total offline market, as high streets continue to battle declining footfall and store closures, while the likes of Marks & Spencer and Debenhams close branches.
Emily Salter, retail analyst for GlobalData, pointed out that retail parks often lack appealing and varied leisure facilities – “something that should be improved upon to increase footfall and dwell time, as visitors who use leisure facilities spend more time in retail parks”.
GlobalData’s 2018 How Britain Shops survey of 10,000 shoppers revealed that only 24.9 per cent of retail park visitors used a food service on their last visit to a retail park, compared to 34.9 per cent of town centre visitors and 55.7 per cent of supermall visitors.
“An increased focus on leisure facilities may also make retail parks more attractive to younger consumers, as they currently are the least likely to visit the location,” explained Salter, citing survey finding that 49.9 per cent of 16-24 year-olds visited a retail park in the last 12 months, versus 59.3 per cent of all consumers.
Reflecting the trend across the UK retail market, general value-oriented merchandiser’s appear to appeal the most to consumers, with the likes of B&M, Wilko and The Range ranking in the top 10 retailers visited in retail parks across various sectors.
In addition to the attraction of the wide product ranges available at these retailers, GlobalData stated that Next adding food services and Sports Direct including leisure elements have helped to create locations that appeal to a broader range of shoppers.