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Survey reveals cautious confidence over future of retail building industry

Built environment job board has revealed that 37% of professionals are uncertain about the prospects of the retail building industry. This follows a 7% drop in retail projects starts during 2013, according to industry analysts Glenigan.
The research also reveals that professionals worried about the future of the sector would consider a lateral move to safeguard their career, with eight in ten willing to consider a career in the industrial sector (85%), should the outlook of the industry worsen. For some, a change of location is also an option, and 84% would consider moving overseas for work.

However, forward looking figures from Glenigan show that growth in retail projects of 24% is anticipated in 2014.

Despite the uncertainty, professionals are hopeful that the industry could turn its fate around through new innovation. Over half of respondents think that initiatives such as concept stores and brand spaces will help drive growth in the sector (57%), whilst a further 63% believe that government intervention in the form of a reduction in business rates for retailers would prompt direct growth in retail building.

When asked which countries the UK's retail sector could learn from, respondents highlighted Germany (12%), the USA (11%), and the home of shopping centre giant Westfield, Australia (10%).

Commercial director at, Rob Searle, said: 'Whilst the future of the retail sector is unclear, professionals are hopeful for its recovery and recognise the potential impact of a change in its prospects. The success of new projects in the sector, such as Trinity Leeds, could inspire further developments and encourage professionals to revaluate the prospects of the sector'.

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