New figures reveal average shop rents in Peterborough are among some of nation's lowest

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New statistics come as retailers battle lower footfall and online shopping

Retailers looking to expand could benefit from some of the country’s lowest annual rents by moving to Peterborough, according to new figures.

In a newly published league table of retail rents, Peterborough with an average yearly rental of just £18.97 per square foot is ranked 80th out of 103 cities and towns.

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It is a lot less expensive than city growth rival Milton Keynes, which has an average yearly rental of £41.21 per square foot and is ranked eighth.

Retailers in Bridge Street, Peterborough.Retailers in Bridge Street, Peterborough.
Retailers in Bridge Street, Peterborough.

Cambridge is fifth with an average rental of £46.78 per square foot while Northampton is placed in 19th position with an average rental of £30.52 per square foot.

The most expensive is London with a £49.64 average yearly rental per square foot while the cheapest is Blackpool at £12.45. Also among the lowest is Stoke-on-Trent with an average rent of £12.91.

The figures have been published by advisers to struggling companies, Real Business Rescue, and come as retailers seek to cope with higher costs as well as the rise of online shopping and lower customer footfalls.

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Peterborough has witnessed the recent departure of a number of key retailers, including department chain John Lewis, fashion retailer Next and niche clothing retailer Joules – all from the Queensgate Shopping Centre – but Poundland is opening a ‘superstore’ at Brotherhood Retail Park, and footwear retailer Diechmann has just opened in Serpentine Green Shopping Centre.

But according to the study, which was carried out from September 27 to September 29 this year, Peterborough had 20 empty units while Milton Keynes had 16 and Northampton had 52 empty shops.

It is thought those cities with lower average rents will give retailers some financial breathing space at a time when every penny is precious and will help attract new businesses.

Shaun Barton, national online business operations director at Real Business Rescue, said: “Rental prices are just one of the many rising costs affecting businesses as they battle through one of the toughest periods they’ve ever faced.

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“These prices lead to vacant retail spaces, which can have damaging effects on high streets but it’s another pressure point for small and medium-sized enterprises everywhere.

"Could increasing retail rental prices also be damaging trading?”