The take-up of retail warehousing space has picked up pace as acquisitive retailers continue to fill the voids left by the demise of household names such as Focus DIY, Comet, MFI and JJB Sports.

The take-up of retail warehousing space has picked up pace as acquisitive retailers continue to fill the voids left by the demise of household names such as Focus DIY, Comet, MFI and JJB Sports. Winning the race to recycle second-hand space is discount retailer B&M, which claims the title of fastest-growing retail park tenant after upping its total out-of-town footprint by 56% in the past two years. Close behind is fellow discounter Home Bargains, which has also been aggressively expanding its retail park presence with a 50% increase in floor space.

But it’s not just the discounters that have been busy - Next Home cements its position as the largest retail park tenant among the home retailers. Retail Week provides an up-to-date look at the biggest winners and losers in the out-of-town market - including the latest retail warehousing vacancy rates and the top 10 retail park tenants and we also hear from the market’s leading property developers, agents and investors on why out-of-town parks are such an attractive proposition for retailers in the current climate.

There are more figures to get your teeth into, featuring the top 10 headline rents and an in-depth look at rental levels in 2013 and beyond.

Future gazing continues where Retail Week asks just how far the click-and-collect fulfilment model could develop on retail parks and explores the potential of having pick-up points for multiple retail brands under one roof.

Looking ahead, 2014 is set to be “the year of the hypermarket” if Philip Clarke’s predictions are anything to go by. Unveiling plans to refresh more than one Tesco Extra store a week, the supermarket boss is on a mission to introduce new radical shopping and leisure elements into its traditional out-of-town stores. Our report looks at Tesco’s re-imagining of big-box retail and finds out how the rest of the grocery world is reacting.

The out-of-town formula is becoming steadily more attractive to a variety of consumers. From the new home owner, to the school-run mum and the entertainment-hungry teen, they’re all finding a one-stop experience that can’t be replicated on the high street. And as operators up the stakes in collection, ranging and store design, the UK’s big boxes will continue to hold shoppers’ attention.

Up and down the country, there’s a shared sense among investors, developers and retailers that retail parks are worth investing in. Opportunities abound and now’s the time to grasp them.

  • Laura Heywood, Supplements Editor