RealCast: Retail pain in the UK, proptech to the rescue, offices receive an endorsement

Nicol Dynes, Leanne Tritton, Dan Innes and Richard Betts

In the spotlight this week:

A “sad and frightening” time for retail, particularly in the UK where retailers Debenhams and Arcadia went into administration threatening 13,000 jobs. Difficulties that were manifest pre Covid have been accelerated and exacerbated by the pandemic. However, it is not all gloom for fashion retailers as Primark is demonstrating.

The crisis has also brought proptech to the fore, as Real Asset Media’s recent Proptech Summit demonstrated. The new technologies are wide ranging – from an Airbnb-type model for offices to hands-free entry, occupancy data and air quality monitoring which are all being driven by the need to demonstrate healthy offices.

Meanwhile, lockdown data suggest that demand for offices remains, a sentiment that is also backed by a recent comment by London mayor Sadiq Khan when he granted planning permission for offices at Bishopsgate Goods Yard in the City. However, green space and even a rooftop forest that would have been “nice-to-haves” before the pandemic have ascended the list of priorities.

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