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LONDON-Colliers Conrad Ritblat Erdman has taken a resolutely upbeat view ofthe leisure property sector despite fears in many circles of its gradualdecline. Oversupply in certain areas plus planning problems in others havecontinued to dog the leisure sector over the last few years and CCRE, in itsannual Midsummer Retail Report, agreed that: ‘If the market were to bejudged by the headlines then the leisure industry would appear to be in astate of crisis.’

However, the company points out that the industry as a whole is in goodhealth with failures marked down as purely due to entrepreneurialvolatility.

‘Record cinema admissions, consumer spending above inflation and aninsatiable demand for health and fitness clubs shows the industry in prettygood shape,’ says Neil Richmond, department head of CCRE Leisure. Yet the company’soptimism cannot mask the fact that the last 12 months has seen the firstmultiplex closures, the shock receivership of leisure developer THI and thedemise of Dave ‘n Buster units in Solihull and Bristol less than three yearsafter opening, marking the end of Bass Leisure’s venture into this US stylefamily entertainment centre.

The demise of South African fitness operator Healthland has shown thateven the fitness sector is not impervious although Richmond regards this asmore a failure over membership rather than any deficiency in the currentstate of the market. He says, ‘Expansion plans from operators across allhealth and fitness sub-sectors looks set to ensure strong tenant demand forseveral years to come.’

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