For the past 20 years Brighton has proved itself to be a winner with retailers but now it is awash with high street names trying to find over 2 million square feet of space that just doesn’t exist.
The property consultancy Focus has just released its 2007 retail report which shows that demand for retail space in the city has virtually doubled over the last year and now stands at a staggering 2.1m sq. ft being sought by 165 different companies.
Little of that demand is for small units - just 6% amounting to some 126,000 sq. ft. Instead, most is from retailers looking for large, modern units. Amongst those operators said to have the city on its target list are big space occupiers like Harvey Nichols and House of Fraser.
Others are being attracted by extremely promising forecasts for the growth of its retail market. A report by GVA Grimley, commissioned by Brighton & Hove City Council, has identified, for example, that retail turnover could grow to £2.6bn by 2016. Little wonder then that so many retailers want a piece of the action.
But the city's perennial challenge is where to accommodate them. There are approaching 1,500 shops in Brighton city centre (not including Hove, London Rd or Kemp Town) but the average size is measured in hundreds of square feet rather than thousands. Brighton's dual problems are the constraints of its city centre which make new, large scale retail development very difficult though not impossible (see earlier story in knowledgebase) and the limitations of its wider topography.
The retail report can be downloaded from the Focus website by clicking on the link below
Focus 2007 Retail Demand Report
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