Skegness was the only centre outside London not to suffer falling retail rents over the past year, new research has revealed.
Colliers International, the global property company, has ranked the costal resort fifth best in the UK for its retail rent performance with an average rise of 25 per cent. The top four were all in London.
Town manager Stefan Krause believes Skegness’s uniquely independent retail sector has enabled it to weather the economic downturn, which has harmed many other British high streets.
“We have a very high independent retail sector in the town and a lot of entrepreneurs looking to develop start ups here,” he said.
Colliers’ research attributes London’s rapid recovery on the trend for large national chains to operate fewer, larger branches, which favours the capital over medium sized retail centres.
Mr Krause believes Skegness has been less harshly affected by this trend as it boasts an unusually high proportion of independent retailers and relatively few chain stores.
The lack of large retail units in the town, though a drawback in attracting certain popular retailers, has also meant those that do exist are highly sought after and therefore able to draw high rents, Mr Krause claims.
Even the town’s worst affected areas for retail vacancy levels appear to be more resilient than most towns. The west end of Lumley Road, adjoining Lumley Square, has six units currently empty - though Mr Krause says three are soon to be filled.
“Yes they are closing and moving somewhere else, but immediately new entrepreneurs move in,” he said.
Nationally, Colliers predicts the retail market will begin its recovery in big centres such as London, or smaller remote locations like Skegness, while medium centres will continue to struggle.
Colliers International’s head of research and forecasting Mark Charlton said: “We forecast that the big long delayed recovery in the retail market will start in 2014 but be focused on the big centres, like London, and smaller convenience location,
“The trend for big brands to have fewer, larger branches and provide more of an experience will continue to benefit centre London as a retail destination.
“Increasingly, mayor brands consider London as a first choice location for their flagship stores.
“So the high street is certainly not dead in London, it is, however, almost fatally wounded in some locations where intensive care is required.”