North West logistics boom continues

Firms took 1.4m sq ft of logistics and industrial space across the region in Q3, a 79% increase on the same period last year, according to agency Cushman & Wakefield. 

The busy quarter took the total for the first nine months of 2020 to 3.5m sq ft, a 55% rise on the same period in 2019, the study said.

Rob Taylor, partner in logistics and industrial at Cushman & Wakefield in Manchester, described the North West logistics market as “resilient”. 

“We are now seeing deals being agreed at rental levels of £7/ sq ft and beyond in the 100,000 sq ft-plus market and, as these complete over the coming months, we anticipate continued rental growth across the region,” Taylor said. 

He added: “Recent developer demand for good quality, well-located sites in the region shows the commitment to the sector and with further speculative development across most size ranges mooted, the future in this region looks strong.” 

During the third quarter of 2020, logistics developer Mountpark let a 308,000 sq ft distribution unit to meal box delivery company Gousto, in Warrington, while construction products provider Hilti signed for 104,000 sq ft at Himor’s Carrington Gateway.

Due to the strong take-up levels, supply of warehouse space in the North West has decreased substantially in the last 12 months, falling to 4.24m sq ft from a peak of 7.26m sq ft in mid-2019.  

Rob Taylor Cush&Wake

Rob Taylor

Nationally, demand for UK industrial and distribution space reached record levels in Q3 as retailers and third-party logistics firms expanded their supply chains in response to the ongoing pandemic, according to the study. 

A total of 16m sq ft was transacted across the UK the quarter, double the 10-year average for the period, which stands at 8m sq ft. 

National take-up currently stands at 35.5m sq ft, outstripping the 2019 tally that saw 33.2m sq ft transacted over 12 months. 

An additional 11.5m sq ft is currently under offer across the UK, the study said. 

The high levels of take-up indicate a further acceleration in demand for logistics and distribution space to keep pace with the boom in e-commerce. 

Online retailer Amazon accounts for one-third of all take-up this year so far, acquiring 11.5 m sq ft, Cushman & Wakefield said. 

Taylor said: “It looks likely, notwithstanding the fear of a ‘second spike’, that demand for online retail will remain robust and that consumer habits have changed within a much wider demographic than before, particularly the older generation.  

“As they have been forced to embrace such behaviours, the older generation have realised the benefits of shopping online and the retention of these consumers looks high. This will only serve to increase demand for warehouse space, last-mile delivery centres and smaller fulfilment centres close to large populations.”

Tickets are available for Place North West’s Industrial + Logistics event on 16 October.

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