Take up of UK logistics space soared to record-breaking levels last year as retailers sought to keep up with the surge in demand for online shopping during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the latest analysis, the total take up of logistics space jumped 69 per cent year-on-year to 42.87m sq ft.
The increase was driven by online pureplay firms – which have no physical retail presence – and third-party logistics firms, such as courier and parcel services, which accounted for 31.2 per cent and 29.3 per cent respectively.
A total of 134 deals were completed in 2020, compared to 92 in 2019, representing a 45.7 per cent increase.
Meanwhile the pipeline for this year remains strong with 8.6m sq ft currently under office, data from real estate adviser CBRE showed.
The shift to online shopping has accelerated during the pandemic due to the repeat closure of non-essential stores and orders for the public to stay at home, meaning firms were forced to scramble to increase delivery capacity.
CBRE said the M1 corridor remained the most attractive location for UK logistics, with take-up in the south east and east Midlands representing 49.4 per cent of deals across the country.
Yorkshire and the north east also recorded their highest annual take-up figures.
CBRE head of UK logistics Paul Farrow said: “The pandemic emphasised the importance of logistics operations and demonstrated the resilience of the real estate sector supporting them.
“Looking forward, we expect appetite for the logistics sector to continue to grow, with over 8.6m sq ft currently under offer and available space at its lowest since 2017.”