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Commercial property: retail struggles as chains close stores

Written by Peter Davison on .

Swindon's Regent StreetSwindon's Regent StreetSwindon's retail property sector is continuing to struggle against a nationwide picture of shop closures.

Last autumn the British Retail Consortium announced that retailers were shedding jobs at the fastest rate in a decade. And just this week Marks & Spencer unveiled plans to close 14 stores – although Swindon's is not on the hit list.

The picture has been reflected in the quarterly Commercial Property Market Survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, which shows demand for retail property continuing to wain, availability increasing, and rent predictions falling.

Elsewhere in the commercial property market, demand for industrial property has continued to rise, while demand for office space has remained steady.

Demand for investment property shows a 6th consecutive rise in the face of falling supply of office and industrial investment property availability.

RICS Survey contributor Andrew Kilpatrick, of Kilpatrick & Co, said: “Swindon’s commercial market ended 2017 on a good note, but will not be remembered for any record take-ups in any of the three main sectors.

"For 2018, the market will inevitably reflect economic confidence as the deadline for Brexit gets closer. A good result would give a boost to the market, whereas as a fudge compromise could leave us bumping along for two more years."