Commercial property consultancy CBRE has released its bi-annual report on the Irish retail sector, highlighting a year of recovery and growth for the industry as indicated by improvements in retail sales, consumer confidence and improved high street vacancy rates.
Of the ten locations surveyed in the study - which for the first time included Waterford - seven recorded either stability or an improvement in vacancy rates over the last six months.
Cork’s prime high street showed the most significant improvement with ‘pop-up’ or short-term lettings seeing the rate of vacancy reduce by 12.9% to stand at 6.6% by the end of Q3 2015.
Further north, Belfast saw continuous improvement over the six months since Q1 2015 to stand at 6% at the end of Q3.
However, some locations surveyed saw little change in vacancy rates. Despite a number of tenant moves, Kilkenny’s High Street vacancy rate only fell from 7.7% to 6.6% by the end of Q3.
In other areas of the country, Killarney’s vacancy rate once again improved to 2%, while the level of ground floor vacancy in Athlone and Limerick remained stable.
Finally, despite an increase of 1% in ground floor vacancy rates on the high streets of Dublin, Galway and Sligo in the period, CBRE’s report notes that negotiations are underway on vacant units in both Dublin and Galway.
Senior Director in the retail agency department of CBRE, Simon Cooper commented on the report, “What is most encouraging about the current retail environment is the diversity of occupier demand that is chasing prime units not just in the capital but in prime retail high streets across the country.”
“We’re seeing demand coming not just from a large number of expanding indigenous occupiers but also new international entrants and the ever growing food and beverage sector,” he explained.
The report also warns that an improvement in vacancy levels is also tightening the supply of prime high street units nationwide, putting upward pressure on Zone A rents.
Zone A retail rents on Dublin’s Grafton Street are currently €5,500 per square metre per annum in Q3 2015, while rents on Dublin’s Henry Street stand at €3,500 per square metre per year.
© 2015 - Checkout Magazine by Jenny Whelan.