Peel Retail Parks has reported strong visitor growth at its 10 out-of-town retail parks across the UK in 2018, in contrast to the backdrop of declining retail nationally.

While high street and retail parks footfall dropped for the 13th consecutive month nationally, falling more than 2% in December according to the British Retail Consortium*, Peel Retail Parks, part of Peel Land & Property (Peel L&P), has reported a 24% rise in overall footfall over the last two years across its parks.

Peel Retail Parks, which owns and manages retail parks in Barnsley, Blackburn, Bristol, Edinburgh, Corby, Gloucester, Trafford, Stockport, Sunderland and Yeovil, has reported almost 24 million visits across the entire portfolio throughout the year.

Mark Whittaker, Property Investment Director at Peel L&P, said: “We are all aware of the significant challenges facing the retail sector in the current market but, from challenge, opportunities arise which is why retail is constantly evolving. The growth of online retail is changing the way people shop, plus the uncertainty of Brexit is creating caution among the investment market. It’s essential to stay ahead of the changes in order to survive and thrive.

“Peel L&P has always believed in the out-of-town retail sector and continues to do so today. Despite all the negative media news stories, our retail park portfolio continues to prosper with sustained annual growth supported by underlying occupancy levels at over 93% nationally, with several of our parks maintaining 100% occupancy.

“Our in-house, experienced and dedicated retail team, consisting of Roger Wheeldon, Leah Taylor, Adam Jolley, Gareth Finch and David Parry, are all fully engaged with the fast-changing dynamics of the retail market and are constantly exploiting new ideas and initiatives to further enhance the portfolio.”

Peel’s Retail Parks are reporting a strong position despite the raft of various retailers going into CVAs. Roger Wheeldon, Director of Development for Peel Retail Parks, explains: “We are turning this perceived negative situation into a positive, by deploying funds into our vacant stores to provide much improved and modernised places for customers and retailers.”

At the same time, Peel L&P is obtaining new retail planning consents, working with the expanding and active retailers in the out-of-town retail market such as Home Bargains, JD Sports, B&M Bargains, Iceland, Aldi and Lidl. In addition, the team always looks to complement the retail park offering with food and beverage operators such as Starbucks, Greggs and Costa, providing a more varied shopping destination for the customers.

Roger adds: “What is evident in the market is those retailers who actually embrace online retailing, with the appropriate stock and the implementation of modern click and collect options within stores, are typically retailers who tend to trade more successfully. The retailers who are adapting the physical stores with the change in consumer habits do very well.”

Some of Peel Retail Park’s notable ongoing developments include the following:

Construction of the new £5.5 million, 45,000 sq ft Next store at Gloucester Retail Park, which is due to open March 2019. Construction of a new retail terrace at Straiton Retail Park, Edinburgh. This £10m modern, contemporary glass-fronted terrace will house up to 11 smaller units ranging from 1,500 to 6,000 sq ft, creating a total development extension of 25,500 sq ft to the park.

The creation of a new Aldi food store and Starbucks Drive Thru at Trafford Retail Park, which is set to open early 2020.

Leah Taylor, Development Manager, for Peel Retail Parks, said: “All these developments are transformational for the retail parks and are the culmination of many years of hard work in securing the planning, tenants and funding.”

In brief: park by park…


Building on its success as a star-performing retail park, plans have been approved to bring a new £10 million contemporary glass fronted retail terrace which will bring up to 11 smaller units. The 25,500 sq ft extension to the park will complement the already impressive line-up of retailers calling Straiton Retail Park home.

Leah Taylor, Development Manager for Peel Retail Parks, said: “We’re delighted with the levels of interest received at our new terrace development at our flagship retail park. We have over 65% of the units under offer to tenants such as Starbucks, Card Factory and Greggs to name a few. We’re in advanced negotiations with other complementary national retailers for the remaining units. This is an outstanding addition to the park and will further drive footfall to one of Edinburgh’s strongest retailing destinations.’’

The new terrace will offer units from 1,500 sq ft up to 6,000 sq ft, all of which will have the flexibility to install a mezzanine level.


As part of a wider £14 million regeneration scheme, construction has begun on the transformational and highly anticipated Next store.

The eye-catching glass-fronted building will be one of Next’s new-look ‘dual-format’ stores, the first in the South West of England, providing a total floor area of 45,371 sq ft over three floors and the inclusion of an in-store café.

Improvement works are also set to be carried out on the remainder of the retail park’s cladding and signage to bring it in line with the new and contemporary Iceland and Home Bargains frontage.


This is a retail park really going places. Shortly after announcing Lidl’s plans to open a new supermarket in summer 2019, Peel L&P revealed a £5 million investment to revamp the next phase of the Sunderland Highway site. In addition to the new Lidl supermarket, the park will welcome an Iceland Food Warehouse in a 12,553 sq ft unit, while Greggs will occupy a 1,400 sq ft food unit. These are due to open in summer 2019.

Roger Wheeldon, Director of Development for the site, said: “Our plans for this retail park are transformational and include new cladding and signage to all units, new glazing and store entrances, plus a full redesign of the car park with new landscaping to complete the scheme.”


Despite losing Toys R Us from the retail mix, this popular retail park has continued to trade well, and improve its year on year footfall figures. Attracting home, garden and leisure retailer The Range to fill the former Toys R Us unit brings the park back up to 100% occupancy. Mark added: “The Range will be a fantastic addition to the retail park and we look forward to their opening in 2019.”


The team is forging ahead with the first section of the phase two development of Trafford Retail Park, which will bring a new £5 million Aldi food store and a Starbucks Drive Thru by Q1 of 2020.

Mark added: “This is exactly the kind of addition we have wanted to deliver at Trafford for some time and it will take the retail park to the next level. The combination of providing value for money retailing and convenient drop-in stores for the nearby community is proving a winning formula. It’s not competing with intu Trafford Centre but working with it to provide a more comprehensive retail offering to the wider area.”

*Figures from British Retail Consortium (BRC-Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor) News Source: Retail Gazette