Belfast Telegraph

Shop building applications drop 9% in year, reports commercial law firm EMW

The number of applications to build new shops has fallen by 9% in the past year, a new study shows.

There were 6,700 applications, down for the seventh year in a row, said commercial law firm EMW.

The fall shows that high street retailers continue to be hit by the rise in e-commerce, with added pressure from the EU referendum result, said the report.

Aimee Barrable of EMW said: "With online retailers continuing to win market share, high street firms have less of an appetite to open new shops, instead opting to develop online services or squeeze extra profits from existing space.

"Recent high profile closures will lead to more retail space becoming available on the market. Those retailers still looking to expand their high street presence might look to acquire some of these recently vacated stores instead of applying for any new retail developments.

"Also, it may be that many retailers wait before committing to any new shop developments until they have a clearer picture of the economy in the aftermath of the Brexit vote."