Industrial space snapped up as panic buying and surge in online sales drive demand

May 3, 2020

Demand for short-term industrial space in the South West surged in March as the impact of Covid-19 spurred retailers and logistics firms to seek extra capacity to meet demand.

According to latest research by international property firm Cushman & Wakefield, panic buying by consumers and the growth in online sales sparked by the lockdown had a marked effect on the industrial market.

Businesses linked to supplying equipment to the NHS were also forced to take extra space to meet spiralling demand.

Cushman & Wakefield regional logistics & industrial agency associate Chris Yates, pictured, said first quarter take-up in the region was around 70% higher on the same period last year.

“However, we are mindful that the impact of Covid-19 was only really felt in the final two weeks of the quarter,” he said.

“Since lockdown measures were enforced, we have witnessed several short-term – mainly six-month duration or less – requirements emanate across a range of sectors including a number of NHS-linked essential goods, pharmaceuticals and grocery retail-related needs.

“A number of these now appear to be satisfied for the immediate term and a second wave of short-term requirements have borne out of a combination of increased product demand and supply chain reorganisations, including white goods and catering supply businesses.”

Inquiries had significantly reduced in recent weeks and the second quarter is expected to be a much more subdued affair, he said.

However, a strong rebound in activity is expected once the wider economic position becomes clearer, given the robust underlying fundamentals of the industrial sector in the South West.

“Encouragingly, there are still several occupier requirements taking a longer-term view and proceeding with intended plans, despite Covid-19,” he said.


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