Gen Y dining habits drive hunger for retail space

Young people are much more likely to dine out, driving demand for retail space.
Young people are much more likely to dine out, driving demand for retail space.

Young people’s desire to dine out has driven inquiries from food and beverage retailers as vacancy rates improved.

Real estate research company JLL’s latest Retail Centre Managers Survey shows food and drink operators continue to lead inquiries for retail space, with 54% of JLL centre managers reporting moderate to strong levels, particularly from “mum and dad retailers”.

They are cashing in on the fact that young people are much more likely to spend big on dining out and less on groceries than older generations, according to JLL.

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Overall tenant inquiry levels declined from the previous survey, led by falls among clothing and footwear, and jewellery retailers. But levels were still higher than in 2017.

Vacancy levels in subregional shopping centres improved 0.55% from June 2018 to 2.9%, in line with the long-term average. In neighbourhood centres, the rate remained stable at 2.2%. There is a growing demand for short-term retail space, with the average length of leases falling.

Sentiment has continued to fall, following international trends. Survey respondents were more concerned about competition from other centres and the economic outlook affecting annual turnover than online retailing.

JLL’s head of property and asset management, Australia, Richard Fennell says performance is faring better than was generally believed.

“Rents have held up well and shopping centres remain over 97% occupied,” he says.

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