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Leeds Leaps to 9th in Cushman & Wakefield’s UK Retail Resilience Index

Global real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield, have today revealed the meteoric rise of Leeds in their latest UK Town Centres report.

Climbing from 25th to 9th place in this years Retail Resilience Index, Leeds is the only northern English city in the otherwise southern dominated top 10.

Cushman’s Retail Resilience Index is part of their larger ‘What’s Next’ range of reports focusing on UK Town Centres, and the report analyses the performance of 250 town centres, highlighting their evolving role.

Commenting on the report, Amy Gibson, Senior Research Analyst and report author, said: “Our rankings look at a number of different measures and metrics which contribute to the vitality of a town centre. The retail mix is clearly important within that, but it is not the only factor. In our view, the first step to understanding whether the UK’s town centres are fit for purpose is to understand what the new purpose is for each location.

“The retail and leisure landscape in the UK’s towns has become increasingly homogenous and in many cases, not really kept pace with the changing demands of consumers. As we see a growing proportion of retail shifting online, there is a need to introduce alternative uses in town centres to help differentiate locations and ensure they remain aligned to the local catchment. Shops must adapt to this as well and provide what people want and not just an identical template of other locations.

“The towns within our top 10 are navigating the fast pace of change best and offering visitors a variety of reasons to keep coming back.”

Top 10 (2019) Top 10 (2018)
Cambridge Cambridge
Bristol Guildford
Guildford Bath
Exeter Chichester
Oxford Oxford
Bath Kingston-upon-Thames
Edinburgh Exeter
Brighton Brighton
Leeds Bristol
Kingston-upon-Thames Winchester

As well as highlighting the top performing cities, the report also examines some of the common factors that are impacting underperforming UK town centres.

One of the most eye-catching statistics from the report reveals that nearly a quarter of the towns in the index’s bottom 50 are classified as Seaside Towns. Traditionally, Seaside Towns were built on and driven by tourism from within the UK, however cheaper international flights and budget airlines have eroded their popularity.

As a result of the declining numbers, seaside towns such as Southend have seen stores close – with thriving Brighton being the one exception, featuring in the top 10 for the second year running.

Keith Hardman, International Partner and Head of Cushman & Wakefield’s Leeds office added: “This is further compelling evidence of Leeds’s credentials as a vibrant city where retail is an important factor but by no means the only part of the city’s continuing success story. To be the only northern English city in the top 10 is a testament to this.

“It’s a clear demonstration of just how well Leeds has adapted and risen to the challenges which are confronting all too many towns and city centres and how opportunities have been created in the process. We shouldn’t ignore the importance of this resilience and how it adds confidence and positive influence to businesses looking to further invest, those which have made relocation decisions in the recent past such as Channel 4 and Burberry, along with others contemplating North Shoring.”

Featured Image: Keith Hardman

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