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The road to riches for the retail sector

The road to riches for the retail sector

By Jonathan Rubins, Director


Jonathan Rubins, The road to riches for the retail sector

Jonathan Rubins, Director of Alternative Bridging Corporation

It’s not all bad

The perception that the whole of the retail sector is on its knees is not entirely true. Despite nearly 18 months of multiple national lockdowns and the forced closure of non-essential retail, there are pockets that continue to perform strongly. Supermarkets have clearly delivered impressive results, having been allowed to remain open throughout, and the roadside retail sector has also demonstrated resilience

It’s been said that Covid hasn’t necessarily created new trends, it had simply accelerated existing ones. This is true, for example, in the increasing uptake of remote working and it’s also true of roadside retail.

Long before the pandemic, whilst retailers in towns and cities have suffered as a result of a combination of rising rents, rates and overheads coupled with a decline in footfall, others have set up shop, exploring new opportunities on the shape of roadside retail – roadside premises with ample parking and potentially even drive-through facilities.

Traditionally popular with food outlets and convenience stores, roadside retail is broadening its appeal and Metro Bank, Debenhams and Benefit Cosmetics are just three businesses that have embraced this model and there are other examples of mobile phone shops, travel agents and opticians moving into this area.

The convenience of roadside retail has always been appealing to shoppers and it also lends itself perfectly to benefit from the rise of click and collect as well as the completion of transactions with minimal interaction with other people – which is likely to be a consideration for people well beyond this pandemic.

In addition, the growing use of electric cars presents future opportunities for roadside retail as the installation charging points at roadside sites, creating a captive audience for the shops and services at that location.

And finally, the limited number of roadside retail sites in the UK that offer good access and visibility from the road means that demand for sites is usually high and this is putting upward pressure on rental prices, which are defying the falling levels currently seen in towns and cities.

Roadside retail can therefore present a good opportunity for commercial property investors and, at Alternative Bridging Corporation it’s a sector in which we have good experience and an ongoing appetite. With the right lending partner and the right property, roadside retail can prove the driving force in a commercial property portfolio.

More good news for the retail sector

And finally, the limited number of roadside retail sites in the UK that offer good access and visibility from the road means that demand for sites is usually high and this is putting upward pressure on rental prices, which are defying the falling levels currently seen in towns and cities.

Roadside retail can therefore present a good opportunity for commercial property investors and, at Alternative Bridging Corporation it’s a sector in which we have good experience and an ongoing appetite. With the right lending partner and the right property, roadside retail can prove the driving force in a commercial property portfolio.


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