By David Milliken
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain saw the biggest rise in vacant shops in over two decades late last year and the sharpest increase in empty offices since the financial crisis, highlighting how the COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the economy, at least temporarily.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said its quarterly commercial property survey showed a swing in demand towards industrial space – such as warehouses to service booming online shopping – and away from traditional retail and offices.
“Both the office and retail sectors continue to see occupier and investor demand diminish, with expectations for rents and capital values remaining deeply negative for the time being,” RICS economist Tarrant Parsons said.
Surveyors do not expect any rise in office or retail