Retail resilience amid COVID disruption – The M40 corridor

White Commercial Surveyors have successfully handled and overseen a spate of retail shop openings along the northern sector of the M40 during the 2020 and 2021, despite disrupted trading conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

White Commercial, who are strategically located between London and Birmingham along the M40 corridor, have leased retail accommodation to a variety of retailers during this period including 10 Horse Fair Banbury to Vanjordans coffee shop, Sold Banbury’s Ex Post Office building 57-58 High Street to a property developer, leased 37-38 Church Lane to Fit Cookie Supplements, 22 High Street Banbury let to Pepe’s Piri Piri Restaurant, 1-2 Malting Square Yaxley for use as a pound shop and mobile phone repair, 6a Causeway Bicester let to Gemini Hairdressers, 30 Bridge Street for use as a gym on the first floor and an international supermarket on the ground floor, 40a High Street Banbury to The Italian Larder food store and other entrepreneurs looking to provide local and regional services to the regions expanding population and economy.

The London to Birmingham M40 corridor continues to witness significant growth with a rapidly expanding population – likely to increase with future de-centralisation from the UK’s largest cities, and changing working patterns created by the pandemic.

Oxfordshire already has one of the strongest economies in the UK, contributing £23bn Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK exchequer in 2017 and has one of the highest concentrations of innovation assets in the world, with universities, science, technology and business parks which are at the forefront of global innovation in transformative technologies and sectors; such as fusion technology, autonomous vehicles, quantum computing, cryogenics, space, life sciences and digital health.

Chris White Managing Director of White Commercial comments “Despite the pandemic creating uncertain trading conditions, we have seen an improvement in the ‘take-up’ of retail accommodation in the Banbury and Bicester regions. We consider that this is fuelled by many entrepreneurs in this successful and expanding corridor who have seen relevant market opportunities to open retail outlets; providing a direct and personal service to local and regional customer and population”.

We are expecting more COVID related uncertainty and substantial impact upon the high street as the shift from ‘brick stores’ to electronic sales via the internet structurally alters the shape of the retailing environment. Government statistics have just confirmed that a number of new businesses increased by 51,269 (30.2 per cent) in the third quarter of 2020, compared with the same quarter of the previous year, according to government statistics. This is the largest quarter three year on year increase since 2012.