The disruption brought by the pandemic meant that our usual midsummer retail report and its overview of the sector had to be postponed. Instead we’re pleased to bring you what I suppose is our first ‘midwinter retail report’.
Restructuring retail film: Members of the Colliers UK Retail team look at the impact of the pandemic and how it is shaping the future direction of the market.
Much has happened since the half-year point. The massive stresses on the retail and F&B sectors have continued but the difference between the middle of the year and now is that we do again have a functioning market.
Yes, it does not have the transactional volumes or breadth of active players in comparison to even a year ago, but there is activity throughout the country. Markets rarely tolerate a vacuum and ours is no exception. The shock to the system of the lockdowns and the parlous positions of Arcadia and Debenhams have contributed to activity as both landlords and occupiers can better see how to navigate the market.
Undoubtedly, a sizable proportion of this is being driven by retailers either wanting - or being compelled to - downsize their store networks. However, this represents opportunity for others.
In April, we were instructed by Carphone Warehouse to dispose of its 300+ stores across the UK and have already resolved their interest in more than 100 of those outlets. In London – which has been hard hit by the absence of millions of tourists – we have transacted a number of notable of deals and we have been recently appointed to work on two of the capital’s most prestigious shopping and leisure environments: Coal Drops Yard at King’s Cross Central and The Howard de Walden Estate’s Marylebone Village.
Pricing uncertainty across the retail capital markets became extremely challenging this year and resulted in a sparse volume of transactions for certain asset types. However, we are fortunate in having a market-leading team who specialise in the grocery/supermarket sector and they have remained busy as investors have targeted a sector which has seen growing revenues owing to people’s confinement to home for much of the year.
Our ‘Making the Market’ film on page 17 gives a flavour of the type of activity we’re seeing and everyone is hoping that the trading period prior to Christmas can give some further impetus to the sector.
We usually have a theme for our Midsummer Retail Report. If there is one for this Winter update then it has to be ‘Restructuring’. Everyone in retail and the hospitality sectors are facing the need to restructure to a greater or lesser extent.
With the market reach and depth of expertise that the Colliers UK Retail team has, we believe we can help facilitate that restructuring and assist both landlords and occupiers meet the challenges and opportunities that this year has brought.
About the Author
Co-Head of Retail Agency at Colliers International, David Fox advises a range of in investors, institutions and property companies in respect of their assets across the UK. He is responsible for retail coverage in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh, and continue to build relationships with new and existing clients.
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