The recent article in Property Week about the physical retail sector, as opposed to online stores, makes some valid points.
Some physical retailers are performing well and retail parks often seem to be busy and generating healthy levels of rent. That is certainly the case with the Forster Square Retail Park here in Bradford, which is not far from our office. It has an attractive mix of outlets and plenty of parking; an additional attraction is its close proximity to the rail station.
It is encouraging that 74% of shoppers still prefer to view the goods they are thinking of purchasing in person. On-line does have limitations, especially with clothing; those who buy such goods online are taking a gamble as the quality of the cloth is more difficult to judge, and having to re-package them and return them if they are not right can be a chore.
Measures were taken in the Autumn Budget that attempt to close the gap between business rates paid for retail space as opposed to a tax on bulk distribution warehouses, though it remains to be seen whether loopholes will water down the impact of this. At the same time, Amazon is now planning to roll out physical retail stores hence can see the scope in this traditional way of shopping for themselves.