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LONDON-Rental growth in the retail sector has come to a virtual standstill. Across the UK as a whole, achieved retail rents have grown by only 1.1% in the six months to 31 March 2001 against a growth rate of 30% over the past year.

The top Zone A rent achieved remains £575 ($810) per sf in Brompton Road, Central London which was set back in summer 1999. Outside London, the highest top achieved Zone A rent is in Birmingham at £315 ($444) per sf. Other locations to hit the £300 ($423)per sf mark were Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Manchester with rents of £310 ($437) per sf.

Regionally, growth has been most resilient in the South West and Wales with 3.6% growth in six months and the Midlands with 3.4% growth. The only region to show a fall–of 1%–in achieved rents was Scotland.

But according Nick Ware, national director of JLL’s European Retail Group, there is still enough retailer demand in some sectors of the market to drive up rents. ‘The main trend seems that record rents are set for smaller stores either by coffee shops, mobile phone retailers or by the new influx of fashion retailers–Zara, Mango, Gap and Hennes. They are competing to secure the best sites in the strongest towns and this trend is expected to continue in the short term.’

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