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Online grocers expected to double dark stores and warehousing in year ahead

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Online grocers will commit to doubling the footprint of dark stores and other warehousing in the UK over the course of this year, a national property agency predicts.

Jones Lang Lasalle’s property predictions for 2014 envisage the fast growth in the need for warehousing as demand for online food deliveries increases. It cites IGD figures that predict that the market will double in value over the next five years, from current estimates of £6.5bn, equivalent to 3.8% of the total grocery market.

Demand for warehouse space, says Richard Evans, director, industrial and logistics at Jones Lang Lasalle, will grow as retailers look to open more dedicated ecommerce facilities in the UK, especially in the London area and around other major cities. “We predict,” he says, “that each of the major supermarkets will open at least one dark store next year in the South East.”

The agent estimates that 1.8m sq ft of warehousing space are currently dedicated to fulfilling online grocery orders.

“During 2014,” he said, “we predict that grocery retailers will commit to almost double the footprint of warehousing in the UK and treble it over the medium-term.”

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