How will a leadership change affect the retail property market is one of the key questions on the lips of landlords and retailers as they look to the future and what a majority, minority or coalition Government could mean for the recovering industry.

The extent that the business rates system will be reformed and the improvements made to the physical environment of town centres are just two of many crucial factors that will be decided when a certain political party or parties come to power.

Whatever the outcome, property professionals must work to ensure parliamentarians of all political persuasions “recognise the social, economic and environmental importance of property ownership, investment, development and operations” now and in the future.

That’s the message from Edward Cooke, director of policy and public affairs at the BCSC – he joins the BCSC presidential team, including Tom Meager, director of property for Primark and current BCSC president; David Atkins, chief executive of Hammerson and BCSC president for 2015; and Suzi Clay, portfolio director for Land Securities and president for 2016 to provide some much-needed commentary on the uncertainties of the day.

For more topical punditry on the state of play of the retail property market, here is a round-up of all the retail-focused property news making headlines in the past few months.

One of the major stories to emerge this April is the growing popularity of Europe’s regional cities as the task of finding the right space in the continent’s capitals becomes increasingly problematic. The report examines the locations establishing their retail credentials and asks what are the top global retail property hot spots of the future?

Closer to home, one retailer that’s targeting the UK’s regional cities is bathroom etailer, turned bricks-and-mortar retailer, Better Bathrooms. We meet founder Colin Stevens to find out his plan of attack for future expansion as he launches a nationwide search for new retail showrooms.

Continuing to shine the spotlight on the UK and attention turns to businesses affected by the recent extreme weather conditions. Retail Week finds out how hard retailers have been hit by the recent floods, and what needs to change to protect our shops before the rain inevitably returns again.

Whether it’s coming up with robust contingency plans to limit the damage of future flooding or shouting louder about the vital role the property industry plays in the recovering UK economy, retailers and landlords have their work cut out in 2014 and beyond.  

  • Laura Heywood, Supplements Editor