A couple of weeks ago we commented on the latest gloomy high street news with yet more retailers struggling. 2018 Autumn budget brought some welcome relief for Britain’s High Streets with a commitment to support their modernisation through the announcement of initiatives such as the Future High Streets Fund and rates relief for smaller businesses which will help independent retailers. This will go some way to breathing new life into what was once the barometer of consumer spending.
However, like other sectors, technology and digitisation are disrupting consumer behaviours, whether it’s the way they shop or the way they communicate. The reality is that there is no going back – but there is a chance to reinvigorate and repurpose to help protect income and secure sustainable investment returns from retail holdings over the long term.
Despite the good news and a positive budget, from an investment management perspective, the continued Brexit uncertainty may make it very difficult to implement longer term five-year financial strategies and investors will continue to remain cautious even though Brexit has been priced into commercial property for some time. A no deal Brexit will almost certainly require another budget, if not an election, despite the assurances that the announced improvements to Government spending will stand irrespective of the Brexit outcome. We will have to watch and wait for a little longer.