Colliers: Liverpool’s retail star continues to rise

Liverpool is one of the top two performing retail locations in the UK, according to the latest National Retail Barometer by real estate advisor Colliers International.

The firm's latest research of 15 retail centres throughout the UK recorded Liverpool as having one of the largest decreases in empty shops nationwide with 20 retail units totalling more than 100,000 sq ft being let in the six months between October 2013 and April 2014.

The improvement in retail fortunes for Liverpool was partly attributed by Colliers International to the ongoing success of the Liverpool One retail district opened by Grosvenor in 2008.

In the half-year period the percentage of vacant or void shops in Liverpool fell to 11.8% from 14.4% and from 16.3% in October 2010.

The percentage of vacant retail floorspace in Liverpool declined to 8% in April 2014 from 12.7% in October 2013.

Liverpool and Cardiff were the top two performers nationwide with Bournemouth, Northampton and Worcester also registering marked declines in retail unit vacancy rates.

The Barometer showed that the number of void retail units in the 15 key locations analysed registered its largest quarterly fall since 2006. The average void rate by number of units is now 13% with 12 out of the 15 locations experiencing a fall in their vacancy rates.

In comparison to the situation six months ago, the sample centres collectively registered a decrease in vacant space of more than 300,000 sq ft. Total vacancy across the 15 locations now stands at 1.8m sq ft.

However, despite the falling void rates, there was little movement in the average length of time that shops sit empty. On average, 43% currently remain vacant for more than a year.

David Fox, head of retail agency North at Colliers International, said: "Liverpool has become a key component of the North West's retail trinity alongside the Trafford Centre and Manchester [city centre].

"The tenant mix at Liverpool One has evolved to include the key attractions demanded by savvy shoppers such as a varied dining and fast food offer and a combination of high profile national multiples and emerging and regional operators.

"After a very difficult opening at the height of the financial crisis in 2008 , through active asset management and a regular dialogue with existing tenants, owner Grosvenor has firmly established Liverpool One in the hierarchy of UK shopping and leisure destinations."

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