GVA: Merseyway performing better than rivals

The managing agent of Stockport's Merseyway shopping centre has produced research suggesting that it is outperforming many of its peers in the region.

Responding to negative reports about Stockport's struggling retail environment and status as one of the Portas Towns, GVA suggests that rival shopping centres in the region have more empty units and lower rents.

Statistics compiled by GVA showed that 10 of Merseyway's 102 units were standing empty.

GVA's figures compared to 21 out of 71 units (30%) at Market Place in Bolton being unoccupied, 18 of 83 units (22%) at Town Square/Spindles, Oldham being empty and six out of 27 stores (22%) at the Wheatsheaf Centre in Rochdale not trading.

At The Rock shopping centre in Bury, seven out of 29 units (24%) were unoccupied.

In terms of prime retail rental values, Stockport as a whole has seen a 46% drop from £180 per sq ft to £100 per sq ft between 2008 and 2013.

GVA says other towns in the North West with rival retail offerings have endured larger declines in rental value – for example, Altrincham has seen values drop by 55% from in the past five years, Bolton and Oldham have both suffered falls of 54% per sq ft respectively and Southport and Chester endured declines of 50 and 51% respectively.

Warrington was the only town in the North West to record a percentage fall in rental values that was less than that for Stockport – its values dropped by 43% from £140 to £80 in the past five years.

Jacqueline O'Shea, director of property agents GVA and managing agent of Merseyway, said: "Despite inaccurate media headlines painting Stockport as something akin to a retail ghost town strewn with tumbleweed and awash with 'to let' boards on empty shops, these figures prove what is actually happening in Merseyway and the town itself.

"The economic downturn has indeed blighted Britain's high streets and left the scar of many empty retail units but Merseyway continues to outperform its rival regional shopping centres in the North West of England.

"The centre provides the right mix and range of brand retailers for its target market of customers in Stockport and south Manchester and although we're obviously not happy to see 10 empty shops and continue to strive for maximum occupancy, we are confident of that number being reduced with further lettings to local and national retailers in 2013."

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