Oct 21, 2021
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London's bouncing back as retail vacancies shrink says Shaftesbury

Oct 21, 2021

The retail revival of London’s West End is gathering pace, major landlord Shaftesbury said on Thursday. Business is bouncing back post-lockdowns with the Carnaby Street owner citing a further reduction in available-to-let vacancies.


The real estate investment trust, which operates a 16-acre portfolio in London's West End and Covent Garden, said available-to-let vacancy was 2.9% of portfolio ERV at September 30. This is a drop from 4.6% on July 31 reflecting a recovery for central London.

The indicative external valuation of the wholly-owned portfolio was £3 billion, an increase of £165m in the six month period since March.

On a like-for-like basis, this represents an increase of around 5% over the second half of the financial year, which follows a 10.1% like-for-like decrease in the six months to 31 March.

Shaftesbury said it has seen a reduction in vacancies across all uses since pandemic restrictions began to be relaxed in April.

“The rebound in footfall and trading across our locations reported in our August update has continued, boosted by the rapidly growing return of the local office-based workforce,” Brian Bickell, Shaftesbury chief executive, said.

“Occupancy levels are benefiting from the robust recovery in occupier demand and leasing activity for both commercial and residential accommodation across our meticulously curated, popular West End locations.”

Bickell said rental values are “stabilising and investment sentiment [is] improving as the revival of the West End gathers pace”.

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