Amazon has tightened its grip on the UK retail market by taking more than five times as much new warehousing space this year as the next fastest growing rival.
The online retailer has expanded its UK distribution network by four million sq ft in 2017 – a space almost as big as the Vatican City – according to research from property agency Savills. The next biggest retailer, Lidl, took 754,000 sq ft.
The pace of Amazon’s expansion is such that it took more space than any other company, including major manufacturers such as Jaguar Land Rover and logistics firm Eddie Stobart, who took around 1.5m sq ft apiece.
In total, its expansion amounted to 20pc of the entire new warehouse stock so far in 2017, which has reached 19.7m sq ft – an extraordinary feat for a single company.
Across the board, online retailers have dramatically ramped up their presence in the UK in the last decade: in 2008 they signed for just 1.5m sq ft of new space, while this year, that number had soared to 12.2m sq ft.
Kevin Mofid, director of research at Savills, said the expansion was “unprecedented”.
“You had a point about 10 years ago when the grocers – Tesco, Sainsbury’s and so on – were very active, and they took a lot of space, but it was nowhere near this level."