Strong demand for Exeter retail space

Demand for retail accommodation in Exeter remains consistently strong, with limited voids filling quickly and rents for out of town space rising to a five year high of £28 per sq ft, says Alder King’s retail specialist Lee Southan.

A raft of new occupiers have opened in the city centre over the past year, including The White Company, Saltrock, Coral and Two-Seasons, as well as a high number of new independent operators. The city’s secondary retail locations have also seen a spate of lettings to retail, leisure and professional services occupiers on Paris and Sidwell Streets.

Acting on behalf of Land Securities and the Crown Estate, joint agents Alder King and Turner Locker have recently let 1 Paris Street to Taking Shape, a plus-size fashion brand which manufactures and retails clothes in sizes 14-26, while at 183 Sidwell Street, St Ives Hub has opened The Hub-Box, a unique dining experience serving a range of gourmet burgers, hotdogs and craft beers. Another unit at 171–172 Sidwell Street is currently under offer to a firm of financial advisers and is due to complete in the first quarter of 2014.

Lee Southan says: “Despite the much-reported difficulties of the nation’s high streets, demand for space in Exeter has bucked the trend. Clearly the city’s big retail news has been confirmation that IKEA will open next year but there has been a very good level of interest from potential occupiers for shops close to the Princesshay Shopping Centre. This part of the city has enjoyed a sustained renaissance since the opening of John Lewis.”

Elsewhere in the city, voids at St Thomas Neighbourhood Centre have filled quickly, transacting above the asking rents and the recently completed Alphington Retail Park has seen three out of the four units completed or under offer to national covenants.

“It is very satisfying to see such buoyancy in the city’s retail market,” continued Southan. “With a limited supply of stock and demand from national, regional and independent businesses, we are seeing incentive packages reduce whilst Zone A headline rents remain stable. We expect to see upwards pressure on rents if demand continues at this level through 2014.”