London is seeing a new influx of international and UK restaurant operators looking for property as lockdown is eased, Colliers reports.

There were 320 new active requirements for commercial property in the first quarter of the year, representing more than 1.86m sq. ft of space, according to Colliers’ London Occupier Demand Tracker - significantly up on Q1 for both 2019 and 2020.

Food & beverage was the most popular category, with 134 requirements, with operators looking to capitalise on previous occupier fit-outs and infrastructure.

The international property adviser reports that demand for space in London has been steadily increasing: March saw 137 new active requirements which was substantially ahead of both February and January.

The average requirement size has also been at a level unseen for several years according to Colliers, as large retail, restaurant, bar and leisure concepts target London. In March the average requirement was 5,248 sq. ft.

Paul Souber, co-head of UK & EMEA Retail at Colliers, comments: “This data shows the underlying strength of London as a world class destination, to experience the best places to shop, eat and drink. In the face of unprecedented market disruption, the first quarter of the year has been a considerably more active one than anyone in the market could have expected. Not only have we had a high number of requirements in the market, this has been coupled with a consistently high international demand.

“These new figures are indicative of the appetite we are seeing from brands and concepts looking for a presence in London who understand that there is now the opportunity to secure attractive lease terms and in locations which previously were in scarce supply. This trend is not confined to UK brands, we’ve registered interest from 48 international retailers from 15 different countries, including demand from Australian, Middle Eastern, German and American brands to name a few.”