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High Street Retail and Leisure

High street store openings exceed closures in 2016

The latest research by the Local Data Company has revealed that the number of store openings exceeded closures in the latter months of 2016, with the positive signs continuing into 2017.

The increase in openings emphasised the changing face of the high street with convenience, leisure and service sectors reporting a growth in outlets, whilst the number of traditional retailers continued to decline.


John Lewis opens its first store in Essex at new Chelmsford shopping centre
The opening of the 90,000 sq ft John Lewis store at Aquila’s Bond Street shopping centre, Chelmsford was a milestone for the retailer, with the store representing their first site in Essex. 

The scheme commenced trading in September 2016 and lists The White Company, Jack Wills and Goldsmiths amongst its retailer list. It also includes a restaurant and leisure element overlooking the river, with a food offer including Byron, Bills and Ask along with an Everyman cinema.


Further evidence that omni- channel retailing dominates
The traditional route of store based retailers supplementing their offer with an on line presence has been challenged with Amazon’s latest plans to open ‘physical’ grocery stores in addition to their recent foray into the bookstore arena in the US. 

The new Amazon Go concept was launched at the end of 2016 and is expected to be based on a small convenience store, with no physical check out desk.

The retail giant registered the UK trademark at the end of 2016 signalling its intention to bring the concept to the UK. The first test site opened in Seattle on 5th December 2016.


New food and leisure quarter planned for the Grafton Centre, Cambridge

The changes taking place at the Grafton Centre have gathered momentum, with the announcement to create a new restaurant and leisure quarter on the scheme, with the opening planned for q4 2017.

The food and leisure concept, to be named ‘Food Social’ will include five restaurant units alongside a gym and the existing eight screen Vue cinema.



Take up across Bidwells High Street locations at highest level since 2004

Westgate Centre, Oxford now almost 70% let ahead of October opening

1.5m sqft

Demand from retail and leisure operators across Bidwells markets







Prime rents forecast to remain stable until 2018

UK vacancy rate on the high street falls to 11.5% at end of 2016


Average availability rate across Bidwells locations







Availability expected to rise ahead of Westgate opening as existing retailers relocate




Trading commences at Bond Street with scheme 90% let




High Street demand at highest level since 2008


*Cambridge Grafton Centre launch planned end 2017



Availability edges up to highest level since 2011 




B&M takes 30,000 sq ft former Poundland unit on Carr Street








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