Superfast food speeds up demand for retail space, latest data from Bidwells reveals

Latest research by Bidwells for the Retail and Leisure markets in the region has revealed that demand for retail floor space both in and out of town has continued to gather momentum – partially due to an increase in requirements for high street units for food operators.

The research by Bidwells has revealed that out of town demand is now at its highest level in five years, whilst demand for high street floor space is at its highest level since 2007/08.

And the source of demand is more varied than previous years with the well-reported increase in requirements for high street units by food operators.

James Lankfer, Head of Retail and Leisure said: “Grab and go food is now the driving activity for high street and out of town retail and leisure. The arrival of ‘Superfast’ food is a new concept – aimed at providing quality meals in a much reduced time.

“The concept has been a phenomenon in the US for some time and some US operators are looking to expand in the UK. Examples of this trend are MOD Pizza, Five Guys and Inferno.

“The trend is clear to see such as Soboro Bakery taking a second letting of a prime high street unit in Cambridge and both Ipswich and Chelmsford saw a number of leisure related lettings, with Carluccio’s and Turtle Bay opening new units at High Chelmer Shopping Centre, Chelmsford whilst Wagamama and Prezzo took pace at the Buttermarket Centre, Ipswich.”

However, it is not just the food market which is experiencing growth, the latest generation of retail parks are starting to reflect a more varied occupier base, with occupiers more usually linked to high street or shopping centres locations looking to gain a presence.

The retail centres in the Bidwells region are also set to see a number of new openings over the next few years.

Other retail news includes:

Grafton Centre, Cambridge – £18.5m transformation is underway following Legal and General purchase.

New 120,000 sq ft John Lewis opened in September in Chelmsford anchoring the 300,000 sq ft Bond Street scheme.

New names are being announced for the Westgate Shopping Centre, Oxford, 800,000 sq ft scheme due to start in autumn 2017.

Across the Bidwells markets, which includes Cambridge, Oxford, Milton Keynes Norwich, Ipswich and Chelmsford the demand for retail floor space both in and out of town continues to grow, but the supply of space across the Bidwell’s locations is lower than the national average standing at 4%.