Demand for short-term industrial space surged in March and April

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Demand for short term space surged in March and April this year as the impact of Covid-19 was acutely felt by the logistics sector, according to new data from Cushman & Wakefield.

Richard Evans, head of UK logistics and industrial at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “New demand continues to be above average since the lockdown began with a further five million sq ft of requirements in the two weeks from the 7 April and almost two million sq ft going under offer.

The government lockdown and consumer stockpiling led to an increase in demand for short-term space from supermarkets and the pharmaceutical and public health sector, leading some landlords to consider short-term lettings.

However, Cushman & Wakefield’s Industrial Outlook revealed that despite the increase in demand for short-term space, total take-up of industrial space in the UK fell 32% to 5.5 million sq ft across 41 deals as many retailers operating in ‘non-essential’ sectors such as fashion and homewares temporarily closed their online operations in response to employee health and safety concerns.

Bruno Berretta from Cushman & Wakefield’s UK Research & Insight team, said: “The material uncertainty created by the Covid-19 pandemic and the practical implications of the government-imposed lockdown, including the ability to carry out inspections, have had an undeniable impact on the UK logistics market.

“While some long-term strategic requirements are still progressing, many have been put on hold and overall new enquiries are down in March.”

The availability of industrial space edged up slightly during the first quarter of the year to 72.4 million sq ft and is up by 22% from the same period last year.

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