The long slide in retailer demand for new premises looks to have ended, with demand for prime town centre shops rising 4.2 per cent in the final quarter of last year, according to the latest survey from The Property Information Project.
Prior to the study, demand had fallen for seven consecutive quarters, with a cumulative 40 per cent slump in retailers' property requirements.
Demand is strongest at the smaller end of the market, with space required in smaller units rising 13 per cent. However, demand from larger space users continued to decline throughout the quarter.
Regionally, the West Midlands and North West of England saw the strongest demand in the final quarter of last year, with Wales and the South West performing well. Greater London saw a notable increase in average unit size.
The Property Information Project director Edmund Camerer Cuss said: 'Over the past two years, the number of requirements for units with more than 4,000 sq ft (370 sq m) of trading area has halved to 14 per cent of the total (requirements) and that for smaller units has risen to 86 per cent. These shifts in demand are continuing.'
Camerer Cuss said the retailers that were still looking for larger units are reducing their optimum unit size, while those seeking smaller shops are upping their space requirements.
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