Savills Re:Imagining Retail

By Savills UK

The accelerated evolution of retail is extraordinary. In 2020 we saw a shift in consumer behaviour like never before. These trends were already advancing, but too often ignored.

When we embarked on the Repurposing campaign with Re:Imagining Retail#1 it was a call to arms for all stakeholders in the property industry to consider the urgent need to adapt its retail spaces and places. The positive market reaction to this publication was astonishing. We now seek to take the debate a step further, with Re:Imagining Retail#2 – Sustainable Repurposing.

Retail repurposing reimagines how we use our towns and shopping centres to live, work, play and thrive. Sustainable repurposing, is about making sure that these places are future proof, green, offer solid investment opportunities and provide what communities need.

There are huge headwinds ahead. If we fail to act now, a third of retail could be redundant by the end of the decade.

We’re at a crossroads, where significant challenges meet opportunity. Retail needs to be rightsized, not replaced. Evolved, not eliminated.

Non-retail uses will play a vital role in the transformation of shopping spaces to a more dynamic, rich and purposeful mix of uses. There is a once in a generation opportunity to right previous wrongs, creating places that serve greater financial, economic and social value.

More parties are now coming to the table, recognising that it is not just a question of if, but when. Challenges around viability remain, but increasingly are being navigated through new funding mechanisms, creative uses and partnerships. We’re seeing investors, stakeholders and consumers focus even more on ESG, sustainability and social returns.