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2022 occupational market at a glance (CBRE)
UK take-up

0.5m sq ft

UK vacancy


The modern logistics market is still in its relative infancy. Powerful long-term structural change underpins demand for our assets.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the extent to which logistics is a critical element of the UK’s infrastructure became increasingly evident. These modern, large-scale distribution assets continue to play an integral role in supporting many industries and underpinning the UK’s economic output. 

Our strategy is aligned with three long-term structural trends, including the continued growth in e-commerce sales; occupiers’ need to optimise operational efficiencies to be fit for the future; and the drive for ESG performance. These trends are expected to increase and sustain demand for modern logistics real estate in prime locations in the UK and are set against constrained supply.

Three long-term structural trends:

1. The growth of e-commerce

E-commerce has experienced strong growth over the last decade, as customers seek faster, more flexible and convenient ways to make purchases. This was accelerated further by the Covid pandemic and is expected to continue, driven by growing penetration of the internet and the use of smart phones to make purchases. Online made up 26.5% of total UK retail sales in 2022, up from 19.2% in 2019.

Increased demand is meaning companies are having to invest in new, larger buildings that have the technical and ESG attributes required to support operations; are often highly automated; and can act as a hub for distribution to end-consumer or urban/last mile facilities.

Most of the goods we all buy pass through warehouses like ours, as we work with many of the best-known brands to meet their fulfilment needs.

2. The need to optimise supply chains

Current economic conditions, with high inflation and pressure on consumer finances, have intensified the need for companies to win market share, grow revenue and protect margins. Optimising supply chains, with a focus on resilience, efficiency and productivity, is an important part of this process.

Occupiers are increasingly choosing to consolidate older disparate units into larger, often purpose-built, distribution centres, which offer economies of scale and the ability to optimise staffing and stock levels. They are also deploying automation and technology to stock, retrieve and process products in volume – and at speed.

Events such as Covid-19, Brexit and the war in Ukraine have also highlighted the risks to long supply chains. Customers are responding by increasing their inventory onshore and / or reviewing every aspect of their supply chain from manufacturing and transportation to storage.

3. The drive for ESG performance

Organisations are under pressure to increase their sustainability, including reducing their environmental impact, improved energy efficiency to reduce costs and greater facilities to increase employee wellbeing.

Modern logistics assets have important sustainability features, such as enhanced insulation, LED lighting and large roof spaces capable of accommodating solar PV, which are also more likely to fulfil future regulatory and energy performance standards.

In addition, larger buildings lend themselves to better facilities for staff welfare, such as gyms, canteens and offices. Big sites also have more scope for green space, which can be used to support biodiversity and outdoor amenities.

Long-term positive structural drivers make logistics real estate an attractive and growing sector.

Colin Godfrey - CEO

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