Savills and Ellandi

The Idlewells Shopping Centre in Sutton-in-Ashfield is an enclosed community shopping centre 

Grocery retailers are leading a new boom in community shopping centres, which are increasingly taking business from out of town “destination centres”, according to a new report.

The report by Savills and Ellandi surveyed more than 8,000 shoppers and found the rise of convenience grocery in recent years meant consumers were less willing to travel to large retail schemes and more inclined to shop locally and more frequently.

As a result, community shopping centres once out of fashion were experiencing a resurgence.

It found that despite their desire for convenience, shoppers were spending large amounts of time in these local shops, with 44% of trips lasting longer than an hour.

The report also discovered 78% of shoppers visited a community shopping centre at least one a week, rising to more than 90% monthly, with the proportion higher in areas such as the Midlands, north west and north east regions.

In contrast, just 15% of consumers nationally visited large regional shopping centres weekly, and 44% visited less than twice a year. Retail parks drew 19% of shoppers at least once a week, rising to 53% for high streets.

Report author Tom Whittington, retail research director at Savills, said: “Grocery retailers are at the forefront of this. People are looking for smaller retail baskets and are shopping more frequently and often more locally.

“Local centres generally offer a high proportion of groceries and staple goods, while destination schemes provide a greater number of fashion and comparison goods, with a more comprehensive leisure offer. However, there is clearly more to the relationship with community shopping centres than convenience, as revealed by the surprisingly long dwell times and range of goods purchased.”

The average basket spend across all age groups was £36.60 per visit, rising to £78 for trips longer than two hours. Shoppers were spending slightly more on non-grocery goods (£34 average) than food-grocery (£26 average) per visit, it found.

Ellandi managing director Morgan Garfield added: “Successful shopping centres have to be relevant to their core shoppers. Our empirical evidence proves community shopping centres are at the heart of how people across the UK shop and live. They are highly relevant to both shoppers and retailers.”