The 5 Best And 5 Worst Locations For Retail In The U.K.
The best location for retail in the U.K. is not in London.
Specialist retail agency Harper Dennis Hobbs has published its annual retail Vitality Index, which ranks retail centres across the U.K.
This year it expanded the list of centres from 500 to 1,000, to take into account that retailers are searching for opportunities outside of the biggest towns.
HDH says vitality is measured through a combination of the proportion of luxury shops, the proportion of value-led shops, the vacancy rate, and the proportion of "undesirable" shops — such as pawnbrokers, money lenders and bookmakers.
It compares these things to the demographic of the catchment area to see whether the retail is right for the area.
Here are its best and worst locations for U.K. retail.
Cambridge has jumped six places to number one in the list, and looks highly attractive to retailers. It has a wealthy catchment and good existing stores, but only the 20th-highest rents despite its high ranking.
2. Westfield London
Westfield London in West London has been knocked off the top spot, but its second place still ranks it as the best shopping centre in the U.K. It redefined London shopping and drew shoppers away from the West End with its mix of high-end fashion and multiple dining options.
Although London lost its top spot, 17 of the top 50 locations on HDH's list are in London.
Knightsbridge, where your local corner shop is Harrods, comes third on the list. HDH describes it as the leading “London Village”, which has a mix of regular shops as well as luxury brands aimed at tourists and wealthy local residents. Wimbledon Village, a new entrant at number six, fits this bill, too, but has only the 164th-highest rents.
“Luxury shopping destinations like Knightsbridge, Chelsea and Sloane Street effectively meet the demands of the highly affluent local residents, while these areas also cater to the tourists staying in the many luxury hotels in the area,” the report said.
The shopping centre in Kent, East of London, gets kudos alongside Westfield London for “retail offers [that] accurately matches their wide catchment areas and neither centre has a significant proportion of value-led, undesirable retailers, or vacant floorspace”.
The Worst - 1000. Shields Road, Byker, Newcastle
The least-vital centre in the ranking is Shields Road in Byker, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where 19.6% of retail floor space is unused – up 11% in the past five years.
999. Harrow Road, West Central London
It is amazing to see a location this close to the centre of London at the bottom of the list, but HDH says of Harrow Road: “The average price of a terraced house is c.£1.5M, yet nearly 80% of HDH-classified retailers are ‘undesirable’, and there are no upmarket shops”.
998. Stretford, Greater Manchester
Stretford fits HDH’s description of the least-vital retail centres in the U.K.: “Dominated by vacant units and ‘undesirable’ retail — such as bookmakers and money lenders, and value-led shops.” It has stores such as Tesco and Costa Coffee, but the Stretford Mall also offers up multiple units to rent.
997. Tonypandy, South Wales
“In more remote locations, such as Annan and Tonypandy, residents are most heavily impacted by the poor state of their high streets, as the distance to quality shopping destinations is much further,” the report said.
996. Walton Road, Liverpool
Walton Road is one of the new additions to the ranking, the bottom proportion of which HDH says “are mostly small neighbourhoods and high streets that are located in deprived areas, and are struggling to compete with stronger centres nearby”.