Peterborough is at the top of the property hit parade for retail occupiers looking for prime, yet affordable, rental opportunities.  This, and the fact that the city is bucking national the trend when it comes to retail vacancies, comes as no surprise to property agency, Barker Storey Matthews.

Peterborough has been identified this week as leading a list of 177 retail locations in England and Wales identified by CACI – the market intelligence and data specialist consultancy - who conducted research about rental affordability for trade journal, Property Week.

The research looked at the attractiveness of rental affordability levels for prime retail property opportunities in those 177 locations since the recent revision of business rates when the new rates came into effect earlier this year (01 April).

Peterborough ranked the highest out of the 177 locations researched.  Cambridge was ranked as the eighth most affordable by the same measure, below Exeter and Solihull.

The primacy of Peterborough is backed up by Barker Storey Matthews’ own statistical data about the city’s retail scene.  

While the national average of vacant retail units is reported as running at 11 per cent mid-year, Peterborough’s is just 4.6 per cent of the total stock of units in the central shopping area.

Out of 454 retail and leisure units within the city centre, there are 35 vacant currently – 7.7 per cent of the total stock.  However, of those 35, 14 units are currently under offer to occupiers which means the ‘true vacancy’ level is 21 units.

Julian Welch, Director, Barker Storey Matthews – who is the agency’s retail specialist in Peterborough – believes that all the latest statistics simply reinforce what the city’s property insiders have long known about the value of its retail offering.

He states, “There is a tendency for those with little or no experience of the strategic and day-to-day property scene in Peterborough to ignore its performance potential. 

“It’s all too easy for such outsiders to default to a lazy view of the affordable opportunities of the city’s retail stock.  However, the statistical evidence speaks for itself and we would encourage any potential occupiers to take a fresh look.

“From a commercial property point of view, Peterborough has long been top of the shops as a desirable location for retailers.

“It’s gratifying that this latest data supports those of us who have been banging the drum on behalf of the city for years.”

For more information on retail opportunities in Peterborough, contact Julian Welch at Barker Storey Matthews, tel 01733 897722 or see