Empty Retail Space across the UK

Shopping districts across the whole of the UK are showing a growing vacancy rate over the past five years. In some areas of larger cities, as many as 10,000 units have been empty for three years or more. While there remains some give and take among the larger, sturdier areas of commerce, it seems that once a place has gone vacant for a year, it remains that way (The Telegraph, 2015). The Centre for Retail Research further extrapolates on this with a grim prediction of 2018 resulting in a store number fall of 22% (Centre for Retail Research).

Downsides of Downsizing

Store vacancies aren’t just an eyesore along a busy street. When a place sits empty, it’s a complete burden on the landlords. With the continuing shift from brick and mortar stores to become e-commerce, the money tied into real estate will face a significant hit due to the decreased demand for stores by established retailers. Economists are already seeing reduced rents that result in reduced profitability overall (Centre for Retail Research).

Beyond this, any other empty shops surrounding the landlord’s already empty property do little to spurn interest in the area. It’s an unspoken visual representation of the economic status of the area. If there are stores, enough business is attracted to at least maintain. If there are no functioning stores, there’s not enough money. In addition, the landlord then has to spent money purchasing advertisements and other means of getting their space noticed by potential renters.

Thinking outside the Box

As opposed to falling into this cycle of paying for marketing while there’s no promise of return on investment, it’s time for landlords to think a little differently. Pop up shops require little setup and are there for only a short period of time. Because of this, that makes them the perfect candidates for filling out the period it takes to find a more permanent tenant or a space can even turn into a full-time pop up locaiton. While a pop up shop tenant might not be able to afford long-term committment, they are typically more than happy to pay for the few weeks or months they need a brick and mortar store. In addition, pop up shops work as a marketing tactic for landlords by drawing attention to your location. It keeps customers coming in thereby increasing your chances of finding a future tenant.