Media & Insights

Sustainable retail has the potential to boost local UK economies by nearly £100m and grow brand revenues by up to 13%, reveals new research from Landsec

3 October 2023

New modelling, carried out as part of a research project by Landsec in partnership with Bradshaw Advisory, revealed the potential growth for brands that rented space in a sustainable retail destination, compared to a traditional retail destination. It revealed that, over the course of 10 years, brands in a sustainable retail destination1 could see revenues increase by up to 13%. Overall footfall for such destinations could see a 6% increase, leading to a potential boost of up to £100m for local economies.

Through its research - The potential of sustainable retail - Landsec set out to explore what sustainable retail means to those that influence the industry most – consumers, brands and local authorities - and to better understand the role sustainable retail can play in enabling a thriving retail environment that positively impacts communities and the planet.

Representative public polling also revealed ‘localism’ as the leading feature of sustainable retail among consumers. Two of the top five elements of sustainability identified by the public were creating job opportunities for local people and using local suppliers, as well as a desire to see local, independent brands in their local shopping centres and high streets. This view was consistent across consumers, with the preference for localism strongest among middle-aged people.

Leaders and officers from local authorities across the UK, including Leeds, Portsmouth, Glasgow, Manchester, and London councils Camden, Westminster and Lewisham, agreed with the localism theme. In interviews, they emphasised the importance of independent stores that may be more in tune with local consumers' needs and are at a size where they could experiment with sustainability initiatives. They also noted that a mix including bigger, more renowned brands are needed to support footfall which in turn will support smaller brands.

Interviews with a range of brands across retail, F&B, hospitality and leisure revealed their focus was on the elements of sustainability they perceive as within their control and are priorities for their consumers. This includes their use of sustainable materials and their supply chains - all while remaining economically viable.

Bruce Findlay, Managing Director – Retail at Landsec said: “This research reinforces just how much retail is a force for growth for the UK. Retail destinations have long been fuelling local economies and are closely tied to how people feel about where they live, connecting them to everything they want and need in their local places.

“For us to continue to drive value through retail we need an even greater focus on sustainability, ensuring retail destinations remain a platform for opportunities long into the future. This means working closer with brand partners to better understand how we can meet our sustainability goals together. And it means  more collaboration with local authorities, so we can continue to respond to individual community needs. If we do this, retail can - and will - do better for the environment, create more opportunities for local communities and keep driving value for our cities.”

Cllr Steve Pitt, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, who took part in Landsec’s research, said: "We all need to keep working together locally to create a more sustainable future for retail which plays such a vital role in local communities.

“Our work with Landsec at Gunwharf Quays has shown the importance of collaboration between councils and retail destinations in supporting Portsmouth's economy and wider community through creating jobs and opportunities for local people and businesses.”


1See definitions in notes to editors