Darren Bond | Business Outlook 2020

Our Global Managing Director previews the year ahead across all our sectors. Looking at the strong demand and different impacts on our sectors.

2019 has been an interesting and transitional year for our business. despite many macroeconomic and political challenges, the market for operational real estate businesses remained resilient, continuing to attract interest from diverse groups of operators and investors. 


We have seen significant transactional activity in the pub sector, with a number of market changing transactions occurring, many of which Christie & Co had involvement with.

It has been the busiest year of activity in a decade and this shows how strong the british pub brand is, both domestically and internationally. 

Greene King and ei Group both announced changes in ownership in 2019, underpinned by the value of their freehold property portfolio.



The landmark transaction of Wyevale Garden Centres provides a stimulus to the retail sector, whilst the high street has continued to face significant challenges. The break-up of this business demonstrated the reach of our UK network, and buyers ranged from existing operators to a number of first-time entrants into the industry. This intense activity over the last 18 months opened up the opportunity for Christie & Co in this burgeoning market. We are able to offer expertise and experience in the sector whilst the new relationships and knowledge gained through the process has made us more effective in the sector.


In 2019, some investors paused their interest in the UK market, opting to pursue opportunities in continental Europe. Our teams across the region were increasingly busy working on many significant assignments as there was an uptick in interest in the French and German markets. This year we expect opportunistic investors to return their attention to the UK. With greater clarity on Brexit, we expect to see a more stable outlook for investors and operators alike. There will be some value to be realised as longer hold investors consider and execute their exit strategy.

What remains to be seen across our markets, is the continued impact of cost inflation and Government commitments to further increase the National Minimum Wage over the next few years. This is expected to add to the burden on many businesses, and the impact of these changes will start to filter through in trading performance. This, alongside a changing workforce dynamic following Brexit, will increase pressure on underperforming businesses. However, relaxation in austerity measures expected to begin during 2020 should lead to increasing public sector investment, with knock on effects particularly in the social care industry.


This year we celebrate our 85th anniversary and I enter my twentieth year with Christie & Co, assuming the Global Managing Director position when Chris Day retires from the business. We have seen many changes across our markets, but above all, we understand the resilience of our sectors and we anticipate that the demand for properties in our specialist markets will continue to outstrip supply.

Funding remains available and competitive in all of our sectors and we anticipate this to continue throughout 2020.

It is at this point in the cycle where we highlight the need for businesses to receive ongoing investment and capital expenditure, after a sustained period of positive trading. 

Darren Bond

Global Managing Director

T: +44 7764 378685

E: darren.bond@christie.com


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Christie & Co has provided valuable advice to clients within our specialist sectors for over 80 years.

Business Outlook

Business Outlook is our annual report looking at the year ahead and giving an overview of the previous year.