Monday 21 January 2019 12:14 am

Retail property value set to plunge as owners battle online shopping rise

Jess Clark is a City A.M. news reporter covering private equity and investment.

Jess Clark is a City A.M. news reporter covering private equity and investment.

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The value of retail property is set to fall by 15.9 per cent this year as owners and investors battle to tempt online shoppers back to the high street.

A total of 62 per cent of major UK property owners and investors said e-commerce businesses such as Amazon are disrupting the commercial real estate industry and has had a “profound effect” on their decision-making.

Property owners are moving towards “experiential” retailing and aiming to repurpose space to focus on the customer experience, with 78 per cent of executives saying the trend influences their investment decisions.

More than half – 52 per cent – of owners and investors said they had made investment in companies developing augmented and virtual reality to improve the retail experience.

Job losses are expected to rise by 26,918 and store closures are forecasted to increase by 3,764 this year compared to 2018, according to the latest Commercial Real Estate report by Altus Group.

Altus Group managing director Guillaume Fiastre said: “Retail of the future will use bricks-and-mortar spaces in a very different way mixed in with leisure and lifestyle residential spaces, for example.

“The most successful retailers – the survivors – are learning to draw in their customers with the promise of a personalised experience. Technology makes that all possible, but it still needs a strong human element.

“The growth of online retailing, which had been seen as a difficult trend for property, is one property owners and investors can now take advantage of to drive revenue.”