Where to locate your business: Retail parks

More popular with larger chains, but still a possible location for smaller retailers

Although this form of retailing tends to favour larger units and warehouse based stores and superstores, smaller shops do have a presence in many shopping parks across the UK.

Location in shopping parks such as Bluewater in Kent and Meadowhall near Sheffield, for example, can be expensive but with a year on year increase for out of town shopping compared to lowering margins in the high street, a higher rental fee may pay off in the long-term.

According to Verdict UK, retail analysts, by 2005, out of town sales will account for one-third of all retail sales in the UK. Further research showed that sales through out of town outlets grew by 6.4% in 2000 compared with only 3.4% for the total retail sector.

Dawson comments: “When opting for this type of area you should look for clusters of businesses that operate in the same or similar sector as yours. In Meadowhall, for example there is a section of the complex dedicated for smaller, more specialised stores. This is located near the main food court area and toilets and attracts a large number of people.”

Summary:

Pros: An increase in sales and popularity for out of town shopping is an attractive proposition. Clusters are prevalent in this type of space and can lure specific types of customers or create impulse buyers.   Cons: Rent and rates can be costly. Stiff competition and large brand names is rife and this could prevent you from choosing this particular location

Contacts ViRSA (Village Retail Services Association) Educational Trust Tel: 01993 814377 www.virsa.org

British Retail Consortium Tel: 020 7854 8900 www.brc.org.uk

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