Interest from national retail and leisure operators picking up

6 May 2021
  • Huw Thomas, Director Retail & Leisure, Cooke & Arkwright

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The retail, leisure and hospitality sectors in Wales have faced some of the most challenging business conditions during the last 12 months, with the Covid pandemic, the changing profile of the high streets and the growth in online shopping.

Our Retail & Leisure team has worked hard throughout this period, securing multiple lettings, sales and acquisitions for clients, and was named Most Active Retail Agent in Wales 2020 by Estates Gazette for the second year running.

Director Huw Thomas provides his insight on the retail and leisure sector in Wales:

“We are delighted to have received this award for the second consecutive year.  It’s a testament to the team’s hard work and dedication over the last 12 months in what, for society has been extremely challenging conditions from both a living, working and a retail and leisure perspective. 

“Reflecting on 2020, to a large extent it was surprising, given the various lockdowns we endured, that any activity took place at all. We were particularly pleased to have been able to secure eight new shop openings for Greggs and two new drive-thru’s for Burger King during this period, as well as securing a whole host of other lettings and acquisitions across a number of high streets, shopping centres and retail parks throughout many parts of Wales. 

“As 2021 progresses and the anticipation hopefully, of some normality returning over the coming months, we are seeing interest returning from retailers and national restaurant operators. The latter are looking for fitted-out restaurants, and there is also interest from those wishing to create leisure uses in former and surplus retail accommodation. 

“However, with internet sales having virtually doubled from circa 20% to nearly 40% of all retail sales in the last 12 months, this will inevitably increase vacancies across high streets, shopping centres and retail parks. Therefore, the challenges facing the Retail sector will continue.” 

Mansford has expanded its investment portfolio over the last few years. Over this time Andrew West has provided us with a full rating valuation service which has involved giving a view on liabilities prior to acquisitions, as well as conducting negotiations with Valuation Officers on our UK estate. The portfolio includes a wide range of properties from shops, offices and pubs to major leisure schemes. He has been particularly successful in mitigating our liabilities to empty property rate, which has been an issue on acquisition prior to implementing our development and letting strategy. I have no hesitation in recommending Andrew's expertise in rating valuation for all property types. The profile of property within his portfolio and the successes achieved are testament to his position as an extremely accomplished rating practitioner.

Leopold Hall, Partner, Mansford LLP