Economy defies Brexit doubters. That was the leading headline on the Telegraph yesterday, the thrust of the story being that, despite all the Project Fear stuff, there is actually no hard evidence of a post-Brexit slowdown.
If, as a dentist or practice owner, you were concerned by the effect the vote might have on your livelihood, the signs do seem to be saying things will be fine.
There are a record number of people in work, the pound is rallying a bit and the FTSE 100 closed at its highest level for almost a year this week, while the Bank of England says consumers haven’t been cutting back on purchases.
Of course, the UK may still lose its crown as the fastest growing major economy, and there is still a lot of uncertainty around. Even if consumer spending isn’t down, shopping mall footfall after the vote was down 11 per cent on the same period last year.
But the uncertainty means there’s a major opportunity here for dentists. We already understand the impact of the web on retail rent values over the last five years. It forced down rents and created more flexibility in terms of planning — allowing switched on dentists to relocate from the semi-detached environment to a full retail format with multiple benefits:
- important adjacencies like M&S, Waitrose and Boots
- big footfall
- easy parking
- seven-day trading
Brexit will ultimately force rents down even further — in my view by at least 15 per cent — and when the rates reviews come along they will push rates down significantly; expect a very positive correction.
The drop in footfall is only temporary — view it over the life of a 25 year lease, and remember: a great private dental practice with four surgeries in a retail box of 1500sqft in a local neighbourhood shopping environment is going to be a significant disrupter to all the other dental practices in the catchment.
The brave will achieve significant first mover advantages both in terms of operating costs and future growth and asset value. If you would like to discuss this in more detail or need some help finding a new retail site for your practice please call me on 07860 672727.