Just a handful of a new breed of out-of-town retail parks have driven Birmingham and the Midlands to the top of the rents league, according to a new survey.
The Birmingham office of the leading global real estate services firm has revealed that prime headline rents for what are known as ‘prime open A1 non-food’ evelopments are higher in the Midlands than anywhere else, with the exception of Leeds and Guildford.
‘Prime open A1 non-food’ developments are those where planning has been relaxed to allow leading fashion retailers to open up branches, as opposed to more traditional ‘bulky goods’ outlets, selling white goods and furniture.
Rob Alston, retail partner at Cushman & Wakefield in Birmingham, said that ‘prime open A1 non-food’ developments were still a relatively new concept, but were proving remarkably successful.
He said that these new developments could command much higher rents than traditional out-of-town retail parks, and even one or two successful schemes could dominate the headline rents achieved in an area such as the Midlands.
One of the leading developments in Birmingham is the Fort in Birmingham, and another top site is Fosse Park in Leicester, which is anchored by a major Marks and Spencer store.
The new Cushman & Wakefield out-of-town retail survey has found that prime rents in Birmingham for the first quarter of 2012 were £47.50 per sq ft, only bettered by Guildford and Leeds at £50. Other locations achieved considerably lower rentals, including Cardiff at £24, Bristol at £34.50 and Manchester at £35. Even London (Croydon) could only manage a figure of £37.50.
Mr Alston said: “The prime open A1 non-food sector is performing the strongest in out-of-town retail, with many of the higher rented schemes generating robust levels of trading turnover, underpinned by good accessibility, a quality shopping environment and diverse tenant mix.
“The Fort has been very successful – it is a very good shopping park, has top brands such as Debenhams and Next and is very well located off the M6.