Sales forecasted to rocket
Sales at out-of-town outlets are poised to rise 27.3 per cent over the next five years, according to a report published by Verdict Research.

Last year, out-of-town sales were£85.8 billion. Verdict expects this figure to increase to£109.2 billion by 2011.

The forecast comes despite last year being a difficult year for the sector, with sales increases of 3.8 per cent - below the five-year average between 2000 and 2005. High-profile retailers Courts, Allders and Furniture Land, all closed last year.

Sales at out-of-town DIY chains fell 2 per cent last year, but Verdict expects the sector to recover as the housing market improves.

Store openings could also help drive sales. The launch of Ilva later this year is expected to provide a boost, adding something new and different to the existing offer. Tesco is expected to open more out-of-town superstores and clothing retailers Next, New Look and TK Maxx are also well positioned to expand.

Verdict senior retail analyst Alastair Lockhart said: 'The underlying retail landscape is set to improve and much of the legislative and planning uncertainty that has clouded the market's future in recent years has now been clarified.'