Despite an explosion in the number of shopping centres in Ireland during the Celtic Tiger, some areas of the country do not have enough retail space, according to research by commercial real estate adviser CBRE.
The company analysed retail space across the country to assess where the Department of the Environment’s new planning guidelines would have the biggest effect.
Cross-referencing the most recent census information with the retail space in each county, CBRE calculated which counties have too much retail space and where there is a shortage.
According to the study, Louth has the greatest overall retail density in the country with over 1,220 sq m of shopping centre and retail park accommodation for every 1,000 people living in the county.
Louth has a retail density 94% higher than the national average of 630 sq m. Blanchardstown, in Fingal, Co Dublin, had the highest proportion of retail space at 147% the national average.
Carlow was also nearly twice the national average. It had 93% more retail space than the national average.
Mayo has the least retail space per head of population at 82% below the national average.
Cavan has the second lowest density of retail space, 80% below the national average.
In Munster, Limerick and Waterford were both found to have an oversupply of retail space at 62% and 26% higher than the national average, respectively.
Cork was marginally under supplied at 8% below the national average, while Kerry was 37% under, and Tipperary 28% under.
Suzanne Barrett, associate director of research at CBRE, said the study proved there was still room in parts of Ireland for retail development to take place.
“The new retail planning guidelines suggest that there should be a ‘presumption against further out-of-town retail parks’ and this study certainly highlights on a county level where this presumption should hold strong,” Ms Barrett said.
“However, as close to 70% of the country is below the national density average for retail parks and over 60% is under the national shopping centre density, there is still merit for future retail development in suitable locations, considering the size and age profile of the Irish population.”
CBRE said there are no new retail developments in Ireland due to be completed in 2012. The next large retail expansion will be Charlestown shopping centre in north Dublin, which will be funded by Nama.
Meanwhile, with an improvement in consumer sentiment and the beginning of stabilisation in house prices, CBRE believes there is potential for improvement in the commercial property sector.
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