RETAIL rents across the West Midlands have fallen by 3.4 per cent in the last year according to Colliers International’s annual Midsummer Retail Report.
Of the 33 regional shopping centres and high streets surveyed, just one – Lichfield – saw rents rise. The cathedral city saw a 6.7 per cent increase in rents over the last year, with average rents now £80 per sq ft.
The biggest faller was Rugby, where rents declined by a staggering 15.4 per cent. Rents are now £55 per sq ft in the market town.
In all, 17 shopping areas saw a decrease in rents, with 15 remaining stable. Overall, the average rent in the region is £90.8 per sq ft, compared to the national average of £109.80.
The top rents are being achieved in major city centres and out-of-town malls. Birmingham city centre tops the rent table in the region, at £275 per sq ft. Merry Hill wins silver at £240 per sq ft with Solihull in bronze position at £195 per sq ft. For Shirley the figure is £45 per sq ft.
The Black Country towns of Dudley and Stourbridge are achieving the lowest average rentals, at £30 per sq ft. Stourbridge has at least maintained its rental levels from last year, and rises are anticipated next year.
Dudley recorded a 14.3 per cent decline, second only to Rugby’s.
The overall regional decline of 3.4 per cent compares with a national average of 1.2 per cent. Neighbouring East Midlands saw a fall of 5.7 per cent.
According to Nick Round, the Birmingham-based national head of shopping centre leasing at Colliers International, the research demonstrates that the gulf between the performance of major city centres and out-of-town malls, and traditional high streets, continues to widen.
He said: “The retail sector as a whole is in challenging times. Retailers are under attack from reducing disposable incomes and competition from new channels such as the internet and TV. For traditional high streets in secondary locations, competition from city and town centres and out-of-town shopping malls can be added to this. Shoppers now expect a complete leisure experience, incorporating a wide variety of entertainment, food, drink and retail brands. City centres and dedicated malls are in a better position to offer this.”