Exclusive: Dwindling retail space under pressure as new development hits 20-year low

Empty shop to let on hight street

Pressure is being applied to new retail stock at a time when desire for new physical space is peaking and construction starts reached a 20-year low.

Data shared exclusively with Retail Week by property analytics firm CoStar shows that ground was broken on just 500,000 sq ft of new retail space in the final three months of 2023 – down 53% year on year and less than a quarter of the long-term average of 2.4 million sq ft.

The data found this was the weakest quarter for new construction in more than 20 years, as rising interest rates, inflation and construction costs compounded already-weak sentiment towards the retail sector generally.

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