Many people would have heard of the recent news of high street retailers Toys R Us and Maplin being placed into administration. As a result, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have been asking “what is the future of the high street?”
The answer to this seems to be that the high street is currently undergoing another change.
The first set of changes was in the late 1980s and 1990s, giving rise to the of out-of-town retail park. The second, much more recent change, was the increased use of the internet and online shopping. In particular, a new category of retailer has arisen who have no high street physical store at all, for example Asos. This means that established high street retailers who retain a presence are relying more heavily on internet sales to maintain their share of the market and profits, for example Next.
From a brand point of view, the result of this is that physical stores have a diminishing role in the high street. However, all is not doom and gloom as we have seen in Coventry this is a case of evolution rather than decline. Certain areas are being rejuvenated by independent retailers focusing on culture, leisure and experiences. The interesting, diverse and vibrant rejuvenation of Far Gosford Street in our own City is the most pertinent example of this nationwide trend.
Another example of evolution rather than decline in the local area is evidenced by a number of permitted use changes where prior approval allows conversion from retail to residential for sites under 150sq m. On a larger scale the strategic renovation and rejuvenation of the southern portion of the city centre is the long-term vision of the City Council with the City Arcade, Shelton Square and Bull Yard development being on the medium term radar.
If you have a retail property in Coventry or Warwickshire and you want to ensure you are getting the best return from your investment either through letting, diversification or a change to an alternative use, then contact the Commercial Team at Loveitts.