UK supermall spend to reach £11bn by 2023

As physical retail spend comes under increasing threat from the online channel, supermalls are set to outperform the total offline market over the next five years, as their destination appeal ensures resilient growth.

This is according to GlobalData’s latest industry analysis, which suggested that supermall retail spend will rise by seven per cent during the period to 2023, diverting consumer spending away from increasingly neglected town centres.

Emily Salter, retail analyst at the analytics company, explained that clothing and footwear drives the bulk of spend at supermalls, accounting for 59 per cent in 2018.

“Retailer investment will ensure this continues as a number of players open and refurbish stores in supermalls, such as Primark’s recent opening in Bluewater,” she stated, adding: “Primark is the most visited clothing retailer in supermalls - 30.2 per cent of supermall visitors browsed a store - as its discount credentials appeal to a wide range of shoppers, and it continues to expand its presence in such locations, becoming a new type of anchor retailer.”

The wide range of retailers, leisure and food services drives the destination appeal of supermalls and means that such locations will be better protected from store closures than town centres, as major players including Arcadia, Debenhams and Marks & Spencer look to close numerous branches in the next few years.

Data from GlobalData Retail’s 2018 How Britain Shops survey of 10,000 nationally representative shoppers showed that supermalls hold the most appeal for younger consumers, as more 16-24 year olds have visited them in the past 12 months than any other age group.

Salter concluded: “The retailer selection is well suited to young shoppers, as supermalls are often dominated by mass market clothing and footwear retailers, such as H&M and Zara.

“To remain appealing to this demographic, it is essential that the retail and leisure offer is frequently refreshed with new and exciting brands,” she added. “Pop-up shops and flexible food service options, like street food style eateries, can be valuable mechanisms to offer continual variety and maintain appeal as a social destination.”

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