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FOOTFALL INDEX May is consistently one of the year’s quieter months

in the National FootFall Index, with levels typically on par with January, although this year and 2011 has experienced the lowest footfall for May over the past three years. According to Experian’s FootFall division, national

pedestrian traffic levels are showing a month-on-month decrease of -3.9 per cent and a year-on-year fall of -1.3 per cent. In part this was anticipated given that last year

retailers were heavily promoting World Cup events, offering an array of England merchandise to attract footfall in to their stores. Consumer confidence measures continue to support the view that consumers are feeling less content; the latest Nationwide consumer confidence survey recorded another drop in index levels, reaching 43, just four points above February’s record low. The economy slowdown has no doubt deterred the

number of shoppers visiting the high street to shop encouraging consumers to re-evaluate the amount of time during long weekends and half term spent shopping. Petrol prices remain high, which can potentially raise

the awareness amongst shoppers of the discretionary nature of some of their trips. Although the Bank of England has decided to hold

interest rates at a record low of 0.5 per cent for more than two years, speculation amongst market forecasters is that by the end of the year interest rates may rise by 0.25 per cent to 0.75 per cent. Additional pressures of relatively high inflation

rates could further impact consumer’s propensity to spend as they face the reality of their disposable income being eroded, encouraging them to choose more efficient channels to shop and spending wisely. Shoppers are becoming cannier, and the know that the

temptation to impulse buy is so much greater when in store. As a result, more shoppers are staying at home where the on- line facility allows the customer to stay in control of purchasing exactly what they need. With two bank holidays during the month of May, there tends

to be more emphasis on outdoor garden and home products, however, the retail park sector has also felt the effects of

consumer’s sentiment, as the sector showed a year-on-year decline of -0.4 per cent. Although the performance of the retail park sector at

a glance appears flat on last year, the year on year drop is disheartening for this sector when you consider that in 2010 May reported a decline of -1.1 per cent compared to May 2009, and prior to 2009 May had always experienced year on year growth. Looking ahead, Experian expects better news for centre

managers. It forecasts that June should see an uplift in visitor numbers to shopping centres, as typically the month sees an increase in the Retail FootFall Index compared to the month of May.


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Top retail park rents PARK

Fosse Shopping Park, Leicester Brookfield Retail Park, Cheshunt Colney Fields Retail Park, St Albans Birstall Shopping Park, Leeds Castlepoint, Bournemouth Fforest-fach Parc, Swansea

The Fort Shopping Park, Birmingham Teesside Shopping Park, Thornaby Fort Kinnaird, Edinburgh

New Mersey Shopping Park, Liverpool Brent South Shopping Park, Hendon

Source: Trevor Wood Associates RENT

£105.00 £70.00 £65.00 £63.75 £62.50 £62.00 £60.00 £57.90 £55.00 £55.00 £55.00

According to the 2011 edition of the Definitive Guide to Retail & Leisure Parks by Trevor Wood Associates, there continues to be a wide divergence in peak rents achieved on retail parks across the UK, with headline rents ranging from £8 per sq ft to £105 per sq ft. The majority of parks fall in the £10 to £20 per sq ft range but 28

per cent of UK retail parks now command rents in excess of £25 per sq ft. And 10 per cent of parks now achieve more than £35 per sq ft. The entry level to get into the top 100 most expensive retail parks

now stands at £34.70 per sq ft, up from £32.50 last year. However senior partner Trevor Wood sounds a note of caution. “We

should note that 20 per cent of the current peak rents were set by retailers who subsequently went into administration or entered into a CVA with some, like Allied Carpets and JJB Sports, still trading today while others, such as MFI and Rosebys, have gone forever.” May 2011 SHOPPING CENTRE

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