2017 was a great year for the Christie & Co Retail team, achieving unprecedented deal volumes throughout the UK. Demand remains strong across the regions, as interest continues to stem from a variety of buyers, including independent, corporate and regional multiple operators looking to acquire their first site, add to a burgeoning regional portfolio or consolidate their nationwide market positions.
A tumultuous 2017 impacted the market, particularly with significant shifts in the ownership of wholesale suppliers. Mergers have dominated, as the full implications of Tesco’s merger with Booker and what this means for retailers is yet to be seen, while the fate of Nisa hung in the balance as Sainsbury’s initially circled the group, but The Co-operative eventually won the hearts of its members. This year looks set to demonstrate whether retailers choose to trade under a major brand and on what terms, or choose to retain absolute control over the stores they have built up.
Alongside supermarket M&A activity, a key event in 2017 was the administration of Palmer & Harvey, which saw an opportunity for Conviviality to acquire WS Retail. Conviviality has since hit rocky shores as it failed to account for a £30m tax bill leading to financial distress.
Regionally, there has been a shortage of quality convenience stores and petrol filling stations across the North, as corporate operators continue to purchase higher turnover stores from independents and buyers from the South seek to relocate, while demand in the South has been growing, with viewing levels across Hampshire and Dorset up more than 50% compared with last year.
There have also been longstanding regional multiple operators deciding to exit the market, such as Manor Services, a petrol forecourt group in the North West and Sunny Sood Premier Group, a group of high profile convenience supermarkets in Greater Manchester, which was sold through Christie & Co.
Steve Rodell, Managing Director – Retail at Christie & Co comments, “We are delighted to be attending the National Convenience Show once again in 2018. There is no doubt that this is one of the premier events in the convenience calendar, especially when the ACS Summit sits alongside the show on Tuesday, April 17th. As sponsors of the acclaimed Summit, we look forward to meeting respected industry figures, who will share their views on the opportunities ahead for retailers.
“Headwinds still challenge the convenience market but Christie & Co has been able to report much positivity in the market. In 2017, we advised on over 100 convenience retail businesses a week and sold more businesses than previous years. Whilst pricing may have been flatter than previous years, petrol stations continue to attract significant interest, whilst standalone c-stores, newsagents and post offices often provide an affordable point of entry for first time buyers.
“Our team of specialist retail property experts from across our UK network will be on hand at our stand, L51 to meet clients old and new from all corners of the UK. Whether seeking informal guidance about the possible value of a store, considering next steps towards an acquisition or perhaps thinking of moving on, we will be delighted to have a confidential initial chat.”