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Infrastructure as key driver for retail

Why is infrastructure a key driver of successful city retail? Cushman & Wakefield is known for the quality of its research and ideas in this area, having worked on important projects in Birmingham and Newcastle. John Percy, Head of Retail Development UK, at the firm insists that infrastructure is a recognised driver of economic performance and has a direct impact on retail.

Watch John speaking in the video clip above, describing his work on Birmingham's Grand Central Project, involving New Street Station which historically created a poor perception of the city. Now he says the station has been upgraded to a world-leading retail destination and the city is also being helped by the new tram network and the coming of HS2.

Retail in Northumberland Street, Newcastle has had a contrasting story he says. Retail rents have been holding up well, but different interventions from public realm improvements through creating space for pop up events and markets and attention to adjoining side streets has been the answer to sustaining shopping interest. See John's video clip below.

Peter Mace, Head of Central London Retail states in the firm's publication 'Capital Watch - the latest on London Real Estate', that despite the enormous growth of internet-based purchasing, London as a luxury retail centre remains the destination of choice for high net worth tourists the world over'.

'Since the 1720s, the social elite have claimed Bond Street for themselves as the place to meet, greet and shop...more recently, reflecting the inexorable growth in demand for retail space, the cachet of Bond Street has spread to neighbouring Bruton, Mount and Albemarle Streets and other mixed-use thoroughfares that meander pleasantly around Mayfair's Berkerley Square.'

But Peter also sees a trend for luxury clothing, jewellery and top-end digital and technology brands looking for a different type and larger outlet closer to the mainstream high-footfall shopping venues from Regent Street to the City, by Royal Exchange as a far afield as Canary Wharf.

In Peter's view the 'the most observed impact of the EU referendum vote has been the devaluation of sterling...and this is fuelling international demand for leisure, hotel stays and luxury retail' and he asks, 'is London's tourism industry going through a golden vein or is there something more durable here?'

These issues will be debated at our first real estate and retail research round table taking place in Mayfair following our successful 'Art, Investment and Cities' Forum at RIBA in January.

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