Shift from high street forecast to continue

The Government's restrictions on out-of-town shopping centres are misguided and 20 years too late, according to a report by Verdict Research.

It says superstore retailing will continue to grow rapidly in spite of government attempts to make it more difficult to build large stores out of town because many planning applications are already in the pipeline and out-of-town shopping has proved popular with the public.

The report forecasts that out-of-town retail floorspace will grow by 25 million sq ft by 1998, with a third of all retail expenditure at out-of-town shopping centres and retail parks.

Fastest growth is forecast for electrical superstores, where groups such as Comet have led the way, with continuing expansion by DIY stores, warehouse clubs and office supplies.

Retailers that have traditionally remained loyal to the high street also see out-of-town stores as cost-efficient alternatives. However, the report warns there will be causalties as a "tide of renewal" floods through the sector, with more powerful operators placing a greater strain on the weaker players.

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