Well done James on being selected for the Bisnow Europe 2018, Retail Revolutions panel last week. Can you tell us about some of your key takeaways and insights from the discussions?
"Mary Portas's summary of UK retail presented at the recent Bisnow Europe event was spot on and resonated strongly with my own reflections over the last few years. Her presentation, whilst touching on property dynamics, largely spoke of the cultural and social impact of this ever evolving sector of our economy.
Many of our towns are essentially shopping centres, born of an age when retail fulfilment was single channel. Owners have built and leased these for "highest capital value" a mix of rent and size of company. Now, many assets find it hard to adapt and to stem a flow of value.
There are various scenarios within our towns and it is unfair to generalise; however, I’m certain that without a broad minded approach to tenant selection, some of our problems will worsen to a tipping point of redevelopment. As some members of the panel identified, this may not be all bad. A housing crisis which triggers helping people back into our town centres - sounds like a plan!
I suspect that evolving a valuation base that allows independents to co-exist with large businesses is probable. The investor base, like our towns, is disparate. Some have their heads in the sand and others are striving to put user quality before rent.
KLM Retail has always promoted that 'if the uses are right, values will follow' and this seems increasingly relevant to our shopping destinations." James Andrews, Partner at KLM Retail.