More signs of a retail recovery

Shoppers in Ipswich town centre.

Shoppers in Ipswich town centre. - Credit: Archant

Chartered surveyors report increased confidence

The shopping sector is bouncing back at last.

The retail sector in the East of England is beginning to feel the effects of the nation’s fledgling economic recovery as demand to rent premises increased during the third quarter of the year, says the latest RICS Commercial Property Survey.

With winter fast approaching, 16% more chartered surveyors in the region reported rises rather than falls in demand for shops, a record high.

While demand is still historically very low, the steady rise in interest from potential retail tenants does represent a welcome sign that the worst could now be over for the high street.

Significantly, every part of the country saw demand for retail space increase with London seeing the most notable growth.

Meanwhile, demand for all types of commercial premises in the region also grew during the three months to October.

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In tandem with this more positive picture for the sector, the amount of new development starts being built across the East of England increased over the last three months.

Ian McCrea, spokesman for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors in the East of England said: “Retailers have had a difficult few years trying to rationalise their high street presence while facing a massive squeeze on consumer spending power.

“These latest figures suggest that demand from consumers may be gently edging up. Hopefully, this will give businesses some confidence that there is an end in sight to current high street woes.”