Gym operators muscle into retail outlet space
Fitness and gym operators, part of a sector which previously opted for secondary or industrial space, are now competing with retailers.
The start of 2019 has seen modest levels of retail leasing activity around the country's main shopping centres following on from a steady 2018.
Among the 11 fitness chains actively seeking space are Snap Fitness, Fit4Less, FLYEFit, 9Round kick box fitness, Anytime Fitness, Jump Zone and Oslo.
"Much of the activity in the first quarter of the year has been Dublin-centric, with a number of new brands and openings planned across the major centres in the coming months," says the latest edition of Cushman & Wakefield's Retail Shopping Centre Market Snapshot.
It shows that prime Zone A rents are tending upwards at Blanchardstown Shopping Centre at €3,400 per sq m, The Square, Tallaght at €1,600 per sq m and The Pavilions, Swords at €2,500 per sq m.
Those in Liffey Valley and Dundrum are flat at €3,100 and €4,700 per sq m respectively.
Among the retailers actively seeking new outlets are fashion chains Zara, Fat Face, Pull & Bear and American Eagle.
In the cinema business five chains are active: Stella, The Light, Everyman, The Arc and Empire.
In the food and beverage sector there are at least 25 chains with outstanding or active requirements for outlets. As well as some of the well known names, they also include Mad Egg, PF Changs, Press Up, Las Guanas, Vapiano, Five Guys, Gourmet Food Parlour and the latest newcomer Leon.
Karl Stewart of Cushman & Wakefield says that while Brexit continues to have an adverse effect through the uncertainty it has created, those retailers who have opened new stores have seen robust positive trading.
"There's no doubt the retail market is going through a seismic change and the challenge for the market is adapting to this change," he adds.
Newcomers at Dundrum Town Centre include Kurt Geiger, which is taking the former Coast unit, while Stella Bowl will open an eight-lane bowling alley, a cocktail bar and diner next year in Dundrum's Pembroke District where PF Changs and Leon will also join the dining line-up.
Demand is helped by the economic recovery as shown by Irish retail sales, which continue to trend upwards with an annual increase of 3.8pc and 5.2pc by value and volume respectively in February 2019.
There was an increase in core retail sales excluding motor trades by 1.4pc when compared to January 2019 and an annual increase of 5.3pc. However the consumer confidence index dropped in quarter one, finishing at 93.1 in March.
Retail property activity was also slower in the regions during the first quarter. Nevertheless a number of fitness and food and beverage operators are believed to be at the legal stage of taking regional outlets.