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The retail market remains challenging but there is some stability in the market in terms of rents and activity.
Activity remains focused on prime product whilst secondary struggles in comparison. Core high streets and stronger performing schemes continue to perform steadily, with a number of active comparison and restaurant retailers in the market for space. There has been some take-up in the retail warehouse park sector this quarter, with a number of retailers looking to take advantage of the low values available, however demand in this sector remains challenging overall.
In the last quarter we have seen 2 retailers come back out of examinership and continue to trade. There is evidence that retailers are increasingly turning to examinerships in an attempt to reduce high rents in existing leases. The reputational damage does not seem as concerning to retailers anymore. There is a perception that some UK-based retailers who are profitable are exploiting the examinership process for their ultimate parents gain.
Hannah Dwyer, Head of Research said “There hasn’t been a great deal of change in the market in the last quarter, with similar demand, supply and rental trends remaining. In terms of market activity, we have seen Hilco Capital purchase HMV and Xtravision stores across Ireland and the UK, Eason and Co have added 6 franchise units to its store portfolio, and fashion giant H&M announced they are to open a large store in the former NIB building on College Green. There are also a number of retailers and restaurants actively looking for space in prime locations”.
Hannah also added that “there has also been news of activity that is aimed at enhancing retail performance. NAMA has appointed contractors to amalgamate 57/58 Grafton Street to boost value and attract large occupiers, works have started on Grafton Street as part of the €4m improvement scheme for the district, and Headline Property Holdings (backed by NAMA) are investing €5m in refurbishment of Northside Shopping Centre. The retail sector is therefore working hard to keep afloat and is reacting to the continued challenges that are underlining the sector such as low rental values, vacancy and weak consumer sentiment”.
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