25 July 2016 - Janet Bird
The number of applications to build new retail developments has fallen for the seventh consecutive year.
A report by commercial law company EMW revealed the number of applications had fallen nine percent in the past year, from 7,360 in 2014 to 6,700 in 2015. This is down from a peak of 11,900 applications in 2008.
With online retailers continuing to gain market share, EMW suggested high street firms were cautious about investing in new bricks and mortar stores. Instead, they were either putting more effort into developing their online trading platforms or reworking existing stores to offer a better customer experience.
The collapse of high profile chains like Austin Reed, BHS and My Local has also made more retail space available to businesses wishing to expand their high street presence, reducing the need to invest in new retail developments, EMW pointed out.
The law firm suggested many retailers were also adopting a 'wait and see' approach in the wake of the Brexit vote, unwilling to commit to major capital expenditure until there is greater clarity about the economic fall-out from the referendum result.