Three quarters of ‘Woolies’ stores snapped up in the Midlands

One year on from Woolworths’ demise, take-up of the former store’s retail outlets in the Midlands has reached 75 per cent, according to latest research from CB Richard Ellis.

Of the 154 stores in the region, around 115 are now either let or under offer – an increase of nine per cent since the research was last carried out in the summer. The majority of stores (55 per cent) have been occupied by discount retailers, followed by grocery and fashion stores (both 17 per cent) and other retail outlets (12 per cent).

Across the UK there are more than 800 former Woolworths outlets, of which three quarters have either been let or are under offer, compared with a few months ago when 60 per cent had been acquired.

Discount stores, grocers and fashion operators account for the majority of new occupiers.  Combined, they account for more than 80 per cent of the total take-up. Discount retailers, such as B&M Bargains, 99p stores and Poundland, account for the greatest proportion of acquired stores (39 per cent of the total); followed by grocery outlets, including Iceland and Tesco (26 per cent); and fashion operators such as Ethel Austin and Peacocks (18 per cent).

Martin Guest, managing director at CBRE in Birmingham, said:  “A year ago the collapse of Woolworths came at a very difficult time for retailers who were feeling the full force of the harsh economic conditions.  Rather than stores remaining dormant the market was quick to react to the fantastic opportunity to acquire prime retail locations in high streets and town centres across the UK.

“A lot of the prime sites were cherry picked in the first few weeks after Woolworths went into administration, although names such as Iceland, B&M Bargains, Home Bargains and 99p stores were the first to capitalise on the opportunity.

“Whether or not branches have been acquired appears to be largely due to the relative strength of the retail destination, the pitch and size of individual unit, and individual retailer requirements, rather than the geographical location.

“Of the remaining un-let stores, the majority are in secondary locations with around 65 per cent classified as local or minor district centres.”

ENDS

Regional Breakdown of take-up

  • Ireland – 89%
  • North East – 79%
  • Midlands – 75%
  • North West – 79%
  • Scotland – 73%
  • South East – 78%
  • South West – 69%
  • Wales – 78%.

For a copy of the initial report visit www.cbre.co.uk/retail

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