Self-storage arrived from the USA in the early 1980s, when Abbey Self-Storage (now Safestore) opened the first UK storage centre in Marylebone in London. Since then it has become one of the fastest growing industry sectors in the UK. There are now more than 950 self-storage facilities (a growth of 10% in the last year ) offering approximately 25m square foot of space and generating revenues of around £600m. The growth in the amount of rental space available in 2013 has remained consistent with the previous five years at around 8%, increasing by around 2m sq ft.
There are well over 130 storage operators in the UK with the big players being Safestore (102 stores), Big Yellow (75 stores) and Access (58 stores). There is a higher density of self-storage centres in the South, especially in London, but there are a significant number of facilities throughout the country.
The UK market has, in many ways, mirrored the US in terms of how the self storage industry has evolved. Interestingly however, the UK market started in main urban centres and is spreading to the countryside, whereas in the US the opposite was true.
CityStore entered into the document storage market in 2011 and has achieved considerable success with the development of its records management business over the last 3 years.
Despite the increase in the utilisation of scanning services as well as cloud-based systems for access to data, many companies still prefer to retain the physical copies of documents for retrieval and delivery to their premises.