Retail property 2030: fewer shops, cheaper rents, indie anchors

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As declining footfall, spiralling business rates and the ongoing penetration of ecommerce lead to a perfect storm for the shop, Retail Week looks at what the future holds for retail property.

Landlords and developers alike are currently peering through their fingers in horror as their investments fall in value, previously agreed rents are slashed, and shop units are left empty.

The CVA, an insolvency tool used to exit leases and slash rents, is now commonplace as retailers from Debenhams to Carpetright look to reduce store numbers.

While many landlords will argue that the root of this problem lies in poor business management, the sector itself has been quick to blame the rise in CVAs on wider problems: the decay of the high street, the rampant penetration of ecommerce and the spiralling costs of doing business.

Many retail analysts say the industry is going through the biggest upheaval it has seen since the financial crash in 2008 and the effects of this period of flux on the makeup of high streets, the role of the retail store and who will own and operate those units in future are likely to be profound.

Adding to these seismic shifts is the evolution of new technologies. Advances in everything from AI to autonomous vehicles have the potential to disrupt how consumers interact with retail space.

In this long read, Retail Week probes into what the future of retail property will look like by 2030.

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