Inside the new Greggs at Cleveland Retail Park

Member Article

Year of growth lies in store for North East retail

Strong demand for prime locations will fuel growth in the North East retail sector in 2024, says Ian Thurlbeck, director of property consultancy @retail, who offers his thoughts and predictions for the coming year.

Sweet taste of success for Greggs

2024 will see a new phase of growth for Greggs as the firm expands its property portfolio on the back of unabated demand for its range of fresh sandwiches, sausage rolls and bakes.

2023 was a record year for Greggs with 220 new site acquisitions, resulting in a net 145 new shop openings. The Newcastle-based company will continue its expansion this year as it seeks a broad mix of location types and concepts including roadside, retail & leisure parks, transport hubs and high streets to support its ambitions to expand to more than 3,000 stores.

@retail continues to act on behalf of Greggs in the North East to identify and secure new premises and most recently acquired a 1,800 sq.ft unit for Greggs at Cleveland Retail Park which opened before Christmas.  

A strong sense of community 

Challenging times highlight the need for stronger communities and Covid-19 proved to be a significant moment for community interest groups and other non-commercial entities who occupy retail spaces. 

In 2024, there is a better understanding of the many benefits that community organisations can offer as occupiers of commercial premises and we believe it also points the way to a growing commercial property sector that is more focused on securing the right occupier for a scheme, rather than the largest or most profitable business. 

@retail anticipates further growth in this sector and has most recently been working on projects such as Addison Court Assisted Living Development in Benwell. Your Homes and Newcastle City Council have developed fully fitted space and with the support of @retail, secured a fantastic community organisation to operate the site. 

This initiative, which is currently fitting out and will launch later this month, highlights the vital role and importance of community interest groups, who can be more agile in challenging times and in the face of the current cost-of-living crisis. 

Newcastle to attract more big names

Encouraging levels of demand for prime retail locations in central Newcastle will not only lead to more new brands arriving in 2024 but will also underpin the creation of the next phase of retail and leisure development. 

In 2023 @retail concluded lettings to high end brands including Breitling, Dune, Whitewall Galleries and Cinnabon. More leading brands, such as Ralph Lauren, Jimmy Fairly, Anthropologie, Sostrene Grene and Oliver Bonas are actively looking for prime opportunities in areas of Grainger Street, Blackett Street and Northumberland Street.  

Such confidence in the city is vital for developers such as Taras Properties who recently submitted a planning application to redevelop the former Sports Direct premises at Monument Mall to create new retail, leisure and F&B opportunities, including a new rooftop bar.

@retail and Savills are working on behalf of Taras Properties to identify and secure occupiers for the new development. 

High streets are alive and well

@retail looks forward to North East high streets showing a return to form in the year ahead. Despite a gloomy outlook in other parts of the country, footfall has improved in many places post-Covid thanks to people getting out and about to support their local independent stores and high streets. 

The region’s vibrant market towns and popular coastal towns are attracting increasing numbers of holiday makers and visitors from across the UK and abroad, providing a significant boost for retailers.

In Whitby, @retail has recently attracted clothing brand Saltrock to a vacant unit in an off-market deal, negotiating a higher rent in the process. There are more deals like this one to be done – it’s a case of thinking smarter and looking for the right opportunities. 

Right place, right time

2024 will be a year when high quality new development is vital to deliver the right type of space that modern day retailers need to support their business strategy. Retailers will continue to require well designed, flexible space in the best locations, so the need to bring forward new development across the North East will be as pressing as ever in the coming year to satisfy demand. 

@retail saw this at first hand in 2023 on the back of completing a raft of lettings at The Links at South Beach in Blyth, where retailers including COOP, Greggs, Saltrock, Café Ginevra amongst others, have taken advantage of an attractive new scheme in a prominent coastal position.

Developer Blagdon Estates is currently finalising plans for phase II which will see further retail pods, a pub and hotel brought forward on the site. 

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Four Walls PR .

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