An April survey of U.K. self-storage operators representing more than 200 single-store and multi-facility portfolios revealed local operators were resilient in 2009 and are “cautiously optimistic” about 2010. The majority reported stable rental levels throughout last year as well as an increase in rent-free incentives, occupancy levels and average length of stay. These operators are careful about expanding this year, with fewer planning to extend store sizes or add new facilities than last year.
The 2010 Self-Storage Operator Confidence Survey was administered by Drivers Jonas Deloitte, a U.K.- and Europe-based firm specializing in property consultancy, transaction and advisory services. The company wished to update its similar survey from 2009 and find out how its self-storage clients have performed during the past year as well as how confident they are about the year ahead. Participants ranged from small operators with one to five stores to large operators with more than 40 stores. Most operators’ facilities were in Southeast England (36 percent), North England (28 percent) and Greater London (17 percent).
The majority of respondents said their rental levels remained stable throughout 2009, although rent-free and other incentives increased. On a positive note, three quarters of those surveyed reported static staff numbers for the year. Most weathered the storm by concentrating on improving efficiency and working to maintain occupancy. For most, plans for expansion are on hold, though there seems to be a cautious optimism about the future.
Almost half of the respondents increased their marketing activities, focusing on online marketing, including website and search-engine ranking improvements. Other business changes mentioned by survey participants included cutting down costs, hiring staff with industry experience, introducing bonus programs for facility employees, and targeting specific markets. Many plan to increase rental levels and end the heavy discounting they used over the past year.
Only half of the respondents plan to expand their existing stores, and only a third intend to increase their number of facilities. Some who had hoped to expand find they cannot due to a lack of available financing.
To view complete details of the survey, visit www.djdeloitte.co.uk/?doc=38597.
Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (DTT), a Swiss Verein, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Drivers Jonas Deloitte is a trading name of Deloitte LLP, the United Kingdom member firm of DTT.