Online Christmas shopping boom triggers new demand for warehouses

December 28, 2011

A major online retailer is poised to sign a deal for a large distribution warehouse in the West, part of a growing trend on the back of the dramatic rise in internet shopping this Christmas.

Commercial property specialists Colliers International has witnessed similar developments across the country as shoppers increasingly hunt bargains on the web rather than the high street. This is creating demand among retailers, including established ‘bricks and mortar’ store groups now selling from their websites as well the new generation of online only businesses, for large regional warehouses, in some cases re-using existing industrial buildings.

Retail analysts reported a rise of almost 14% in online buying on last year with an even more dramatic 35% increase in the number of people shopping for presents using mobile platforms. 

The retail group close to signing the deal in the West has not been identified but is understood to be a household name. It is expected to complete the significant deal early in the new year. It is not known if it will take an existing warehouse or develop its own.

Head of Colliers’ Bristol office Tim Davies said: “Dramatically changing shopping habits have resulted in millions of people sitting at home to track down their Christmas gifts online rather than traipsing about the high street. 

“We are seeing retailers returning to the industrial sector to ensure they have adequate logistical support for the unexpectedly steep surge in online business.”

The boom was originally triggered by food retailers expanding their home delivery services but it has now spread to general retailers.

“Contrary to most reports the public appears to be spending fairly freely but it is the way they are spending which is changing out of all recognition,” Mr Davies added. “The whole process is being driven by advances in technology but, however people are buying, retailers still require a good old warehouse to support the increase in business.”


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