I write on behalf of Accessible Retail (AR), the organisation which represents the property interests of the retail warehouse and retail park sector of the retail industry. AR has over 900 members comprising owners/investors, developers, retailers and advisers, a membership which includes most of the major companies active in the sector. The majority of our member’s interests are located in out-of-centre locations, but also, they have significant town centre interests. AR does not represent or speak for regional shopping centres.
The retail industry constitutes a major part of the UK economy accounting for some 8% of GDP and employing nearly 3 million people (10% of total employment). Of this, retail warehouses and retail parks comprise some 30% of total retail spend from 3% of all retail outlets and it constitutes the largest part of investment grade retail commercial property with a value in 2010 of some £30.9 billion (compared with £37.9 billion for shopping malls and £30.9 billion for high street shops). Over half of the sector’s assets are owned by pension funds. The sector, therefore, constitutes an important part of the economy.