Supermarkets’ expansion plans are bucking the retail trend

While general retailers have been suffering some areas within retail are expanding considerably and the CPA/Barbour ABI retail building index for June was 174, one-fifth higher than it was one year ago.

All the major supermarkets have expansion plans; Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Morrisons. Tesco recently announced no hypermarkets would be built, but will continue with small urban retail units. M&S announced a cut of major refurbishing expenditure by £100m. But otherwise expansions continue unhindered as consumers spend more on domestic food and drink at the expense of spending in bars and restaurants.

Another area of growth is from sandwich and coffee house chains. For instance, Pret A Manger, which has more than 240 outlets, will be opening another 24 over the next 18 months and the coffee house chain Costa announced plans in June to open 350 coffee outlets this financial year. Although all the expansions do not completely offset the problems of general retailers, they provide contractors with opportunities in the near term, especially those who specialise in fit-out.