Big grocers mothball sites after consumer ‘revolution’

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SUPERMARKET development activity is set to dip this year following a consumer revolution that has led to the decline of giant stores, according to a new report.

Mark Teale, the head of retail research at property agent CBRE, told The Yorkshire Post that some supermarket schemes are being mothballed because the big retailers are waiting for better trading conditions.

A CBRE report found that, while the pipeline of space for new grocery stores in the UK is 46.61m sq ft, just 2.8m sq ft is being built. In Yorkshire, there is 4.45m sq ft in the grocery pipeline, with just 0.38m sq ft under construction. Mr Teale said that the Yorkshire grocery pipeline included schemes at various stages of development.

He added: “Some grocery operators continue to expand aggressively, such as hard discounters and convenience store operators. The development hiatus is currently affecting the main grocery end.

“What appears to be happening, as occurred in shopping centre and park markets post 2008, is that schemes are being parked awaiting an improvement in market conditions, which is the reason grocery development activity levels in 2015 are projected to dip.”

Last year. Tesco scrapped plans for a new store in the heart of Ilkley, West Yorkshire, and announced that it planned to sell the site. Tesco will continue to run its existing Ilkley store.

A Tesco spokesman said the disused site in Ilkley is on the market. Tesco also owns Batley Shopping Centre in West Yorkshire, which has been described by Andrew Marsden, the chairman of Batley Business Association, as “dead space” because most of the shops have been empty for years.

Mr Marsden added: “Hopefully, we are going to see a decline in huge supermarkets in towns, and a return to a balance between people buying from specialist independent traders such as butchers, florists, and bakers and then using supermarkets for items such as tinned goods.”

A spokesman said Tesco was keen to find new tenants for Batley Shopping Centre. A spokesman for Leeds-based Asda said: “Asda does not own a significant amount of land outside of our store chain portfolio.”

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