‘Support and adapt’ key to retail and leisure recovery

29 April 2021
  • Ryan Pratt Associate Director, Retail & Leisure, Cooke & Arkwright

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The retail, leisure and hospitality sectors in Wales have faced some of the most challenging business conditions during the last 12 months, with the Covid pandemic, the changing profile of the high streets and the growth in online shopping.

Our Retail & Leisure team has worked hard throughout this period, securing multiple lettings, sales and acquisitions for clients, and was named Most Active Retail Agent in Wales 2020 by Estates Gazette for the second year running. Ryan Pratt, Associate Director would like to see businesses support local suppliers: 

“In the majority of our high streets, shopping centres and to some extent retail parks, rents have been completely re-based in recent years, as have the level of business rates - although clearly they remain too high in many locations.

“One of the positive outcomes of the pandemic has been a strong resurgence in people shopping locally and supporting their local businesses. This is excellent to see and is a trend which I hope continues.

“Alongside supporting our local retail communities, our local businesses need to continue adapting to provide the services expected of them. The pandemic has highlighted that it’s all too easy to order from the internet, so the ‘experience-offer’ by retail and leisure needs to be a personal and engaging one, thus separating it from the rather soleless online offer.

“We also need local planning authorities to continue to show flexibility on change of use applications where appropriate. This is something we’ve seen happen in England with the introduction of the Class E use, which will assist landlords and ensure that properties do not lie empty and are in beneficial use.”

The disposal of 120,000 square feet on the Heads of the Valleys Industrial Estate was a particularly satisfying task. The building had been rebuilt following fire damage, and Jeremy Symons and his team were successful in identifying a nearby purchaser looking to expand. The sale price, at £4,000,000, represented a record sale price for a property of this nature in the area, and with great tenacity and endeavour was completed in a timely fashion. An excellent result.

Richard Hayward, Richard Hayward Properties