11/9/2023 | Retail

Top tips to be a preferred buyer

In this article, Christie & Co Managing Director of Retail, Steve Rodell shares his expert tips to help retailers become a preferred buyer and stand out in the crowded buyer pool.


According to the latest ACS data, there are almost 50,000 convenience stores in the UK, of which 70% are run by independent retailers. Notwithstanding the headwinds facing operators of late, from inflation and the rising costs of goods to the cost-of-living crisis, the number of stores has grown by almost 1,000 sites over the past 12 months, which clearly demonstrates the resilience of the UK convenience retail sector.

In recent years, convenience retail has emerged as a robust industry, which as a needs-based service, appears to be less susceptible to economic headwinds than traditional high street retailers. This has driven some of the highest levels of buyer demand for retail assets in many years, and the strong appetite from independent retailers looking for opportunities doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.

Whether you’re an existing retailer looking to expand or a first-time buyer looking to purchase your first convenience retail business, you’ve likely wondered: what can I do to stand out in a crowded buyer pool?

Speaking at the recent Nisa Expo, Christie & Co’s Managing Director of Retail, Steve Rodell was joined by co-Director Mark Kaluza and well-known retailer Harris Aslam and between them they shared their expert insights as part of a workshop titled: How to be a good applicant?

Steve began by explaining why working closely with a specialist property agent can give you an advantage, by outlining the three key aspects to an agent’s role:

  1. Introduction – find a suitable buyer that matches the opportunity
  2. Negotiation – ensure buyer and seller are getting the best price (both sides of the fence)
  3. Deal management – doing everything to ensure the sale completes successfully, a very time-intensive process

He then went on to share his 12 top tips to be a preferred buyer and improve your chances of securing a convenience retail business.

  1. Register your details and requirements with a credible agent to stay update and receive opportunities
  2. Stay in touch – speak to the agent to “raise your profile with us”
  3. Review opportunities and provide feedback (feedback massively important to advise the seller and manage their expectations i.e. property damage, no parking etc)
  4. Know your budget  – speak to an expert such as Christie Finance for advice on finance if needed
  5. Be discreet on customer visits 
  6. Attend agreed formal viewings - make sure you attend any viewings that have been arranged to show you are a serious and committed buyer
  7. Make an offer 
  8. Provide proof of funding (bank statement or proof of a loan offer)
  9. Find a good solicitor with property experience
  10. Agree Heads of Terms (key aspects of the deal – price, staff, stock, what is excluded etc)
  11. Deal with compliance requests from the agent such as proof of ID and address, to comply  with AML regulations 
  12. For leasehold opportunities – provide supporting information to help the seller obtain landlord’s consent and proof of financial standing – perhaps the last three years of accounts, trade references or a security deposit.

If you use this checklist when looking to buy, you’ll have a much better chance of acquiring a business. To read about this in more detail, visit our Buying a Business Guide.

To find out more about the convenience retail market or for a confidential chat about your business options, contact us.