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What does the surge in online shopping mean for storage?

09 September 2020

UK online spending has seen a surge in 2020, following the country’s lockdown earlier this year. Rubb Buildings explores the implications for warehouse storage.

On average, online shopping’s share of total retail spending has increased by around 10%, peaking at 32.8% in May 2020—the largest increase since 2016, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

It’s plain to see that Covid-19 has had a huge impact on our shopping habits, but the shift to online shopping has been in motion since its inception.

The high street has tried several methods to combat shoppers’ growing preference for online shopping, such as the promotion of ‘click and collect’, which aims to give buyers the convenience of shopping online while also ensuring footfall instore.

The growth of online shopping, however, is inevitable and will only continue to increase—especially with the current circumstances.

With this shift away from the high street, how will storage and warehousing be affected?

Real estate investment company ProLogis estimated that for every €1 billion increase in online sales, an additional 72,000 sq m of warehouse storage is required. The UK, however, is an under-warehoused country, which has led to low vacancy rates for several years now.

Savills’ ‘big shed briefing’ lists the vacancy rate at 6.58%, which may be a cause for concern considering the falling rates of speculative warehouse construction. As industry confidence increases, this will likely rise in turn leading to an even greater need for warehouse construction.

This is further compounded by online shopping infrastructure requiring a different approach to traditional retail when it comes to warehouse storage. It benefits much more by being in metropolitan areas rather than distanced from cities. These locations are much more desirable for more than just industrial operations, so prices can rise quickly, and competition can be intense.

With warehouse storage constantly requiring expansion, adaptability and future-proofing should be at the forefront of any perspective warehouse. Rubb prides itself in the adaptability of its fabric structures. Whole Rubb projects can be relocated, expanded, dismantled and stored or even sold to new users. Rubb’s fabric structures represent a stable investment and an ideal solution to the UK’s expanding warehouse requirements.

For more information, visit www.rubbuk.com

Rented storage

Rubb has supplied industrial door specialist Hart Door Systems with a rented storage facility.

The structure was previously rented as storage for a furniture specialist. After two years of rental, it was returned to Rubb and given new life as a rental with Hart. This goes to show the adaptability of a long-life Rubb structure.

Rubb was able to offer a 36-month rental contract for a 10m span x 16m long BVR type storage building, featuring a sidewall height of 6m. A 4m x 4m roller shutter door provides access and egress to the storage facility.

Rubb fabric buildings feature structural steelwork that has been hot dip galvanised to protect against corrosion. The cladding membrane is made using high tenacity PVC polyester fabric, which is flame retardant.

As well as using the structure as a high-quality storage facility, Hart will use it to prototype a new door system. Based on the Speedor Storm door, a high-speed automatic door available up to 8m high with wind class 5, it is developing a smaller version for sizes up to 4m x 4m. This will be a cost-effective solution for openings that require the quality engineering of the Speedor Storm, but at a reduced size. Still in the development stage, it is likely to be launched later this year after testing with this Rubb structure.

The company says: “Rubb is happy to meet Hart’s rental requirements with this building, and proud to be chosen as a part of their development of this exciting new door system.”