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Online boom sees 15 million sq ft super shed expansion

The online boom seen during the pandemic saw nearly 15 million sq ft of new super sheds delivered last year, according to research from Altus Group.

The space occupied by the new large distribution warehouse space is the equivalent of 191 Premier League football pitches and around the same amount of physical retail space lost this year as a result of the acquisition of the Debenhams and Arcadia brands by e-tail giants Boohoo and ASOS.

The annual business rates review, published by real estate adviser Altus Group, shows that 49 brand-new large distribution warehouses, dubbed super sheds which are bigger than 85,000 square foot, were built and added to the Local Rating Lists, for the purpose of the business rates tax, during the 2020 calendar year in England and Wales.

The growth was heaviest in the East Midlands where 15 super sheds, spanning more than 6.07 million square feet, were added.

Super sheds occupied a total area of 416.28 million square feet at the end of last year in England and Wales, about the size of 5,416 football pitches, with the Sports Direct warehouse at Shirebrook still the largest of them all at 2.58 million square feet.

Robert Hayton, UK President at Altus Group said: “Online only retailers now account for 17% of the occupier base of the 100 biggest super sheds.” He said that the surging demand had led to major investment opportunities, particularly for overseas investors, as the race for space continues to intensify.

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