City of Wolverhampton has been named by a leading commercial property magazine as the leading retail hotspot for investors outside London and the South East.
It features fifth in Property Week’s ‘Hot 100 Retail Locations 2016’ rankings for where in the UK investors can find the best retail and leisure opportunities.
In previous years, the ranking, which is drawn up exclusively for Property Week by location experts CACI, focused on towns with the greatest mass market potential.
This year, however, they have chosen to focus on areas that have the most potential for investors.
Property Week states: “Wolverhampton’s top-five slot is driven by the centre’s relative dominance in the local catchment area, the opportunity for headroom and the alignment of the existing offer to the customer demographic.
“The opportunity in the area is reflected in the current development pipeline, which includes the Mander Centre and Wolverhampton Interchange Project. The £35m redevelopment of the Mander Centre includes the opening of numerous anchor stores and is set to complete in 2017.
Similarly, the Wolverhampton Interchange Project is ongoing but has already added significantly to the appeal of the town as a retail destination. In addition to increasing the range of retail and leisure options in the city, the development is also improving travel links.”
In the past, rankings have focused on the size of a retail destination’s catchment and how well the offer fits the demographic of that catchment.
These variables are still considered in this ranking, but the weighting has shifted to prioritise the scope for additional space.
“All of the towns and cities towards the top of the ranking have large enough catchments to support significant amounts of new retail and leisure development,” said John Platt, associate partner at CACI.
City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, Councillor John Reynolds, added: “Major investment is happening in the city centre to boost the visitor and retail economy – and the future looks bright.
“The £35 million Mander Centre redevelopment will deliver Debenhams as a flagship store and a number of other big-name outlets like H&M over the next 12 months.
“Urban & Civic’s £55 million plans for a mixed leisure-led scheme on Westside will transform the heart of the city.
“And businesses have shown confidence in Wolverhampton by quickly occupying the new i10 building – part of the £120 million Interchange transformation.”
Property Week go on to say: “The CACI ranking doesn’t take into account the size of that potential investment, however. So, one of the relatively small destinations near the top of the ranking will only be able to support a minimal development whereas one of the larger cities that ranks lower down could support something much more substantial. The point is the relative size of the gap between a town or city’s catchment and its existing retail offer.
“The ranking also takes a nuanced approach to measuring a destination’s catchment. For instance, in addition to a town or city’s existing population, the ranking also considers how that population is projected to increase or fall over the next 10 years.
“Also taken into account are factors such as the affluence of a population – how much potential spend there is in a catchment area, rather than just how many people it contains. Importantly, the ranking also measures the number of people who work in an area and its appeal to tourists.”