Press Releases

2022 reports a healthy level of leisure market activity in 2021

Specialist business property adviser, Christie & Co, has today launched its annual Business Outlook report, ‘Business Outlook 2022: Adjust, Adapt, Advance’, which reflects on the themes, activity and challenges of 2021 and forecasts what 2022 might bring across the industries in which Christie & Co operates, including the leisure sector.

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Business Outlook 2022 Front Cover

The report notes that following the easing of final trading restrictions on 17 May 2021, the focus for leisure operators was finally able to shift away from cash preservation and business survival towards businesses implementing their strategies for reopening. Numerous operators across the leisure space reported phenomenal “bounce back” trading once allowed to fully reopen, underpinned by the success of the vaccination programme and increasing household spend on leisure activities.

This helped to retain a considerable amount of investor interest in quality leisure assets and drive a healthy level of market activity throughout 2021, particularly amongst holiday park and outdoor visitor attraction operators. The long income investment market also continued to be active, with strong investor appetite specifically targeting the ‘alternatives’ investment space.

For Christie & Co, the year began with the sale of the iconic Skegness Pier to Mellors Group. Other activity spanned a broad range of leisure sectors including health & fitness, sporting and social bars, hotel development and the long-income investment market.

Looking to the year ahead, the report suggests the competitive socialising market will be an interesting area of the leisure industry to watch. There is a growing consumer demand, particularly from the millennial audience for these experience-led activities such as bowling, indoor golf, darts and pool. Christie & Co anticipate further consolidation will take place as the market matures.

The report also outlines Christie & Co’s market predictions which are:

  • We will continue to experience robust demand for quality leisure assets, particularly whilst uncertainty continues around cross-border restrictions, with key UK staycations and day-trip markets prospering as a result
  • Investors will be attracted to opportunities that possess the ability to trade through pandemic-type situations with holiday parks, golf and garden-based attractions continuing to thrive
  • Staff shortages, the end of the commercial eviction moratorium in March 2022 and the return of both business rates and pre-COVID VAT rates will create added financial pressure. We are likely to see a rise in business failures and rental delinquency, bringing more opportunities to the market
  • Leisure property rents will be a mixed bag with some negotiations incorporating significant tenant incentives and rental levels off by as much as 25% to 35% of pre-pandemic levels, whilst those busy and more competitive locations will see landlords retaining the upper hand in lease transactions
  • Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors will see investors increasingly applying these non-financial factors to both real estate and operational aspects as part of their analysis process to identify material risks and growth opportunities

Jon Patrick, Head of Leisure & Development at Christie & Co comments, “Demand continues to outstrip supply for good quality leisure businesses and with the uncertainty surrounding Omicron and other potential covid variations that may arrive set to continue, its likely this will play in the staycation markets favour, leading them to continue to trade strongly. Against this, operators are concerned about the challenges of filling staff roles as competition in a buoyant, but depleted leisure and hospitality jobs market has driven costs up considerably, with food, energy, utilities and transport as well as taxes for both operators and consumer all rising. Whilst we saw interest rates increase from 0.1% to 0.25% last month, the fact that inflation has now topped 5% and is at its highest level for over 10 years leads us to anticipate the Bank of England’s monetary-policy committee will be under pressure to raise interest rates further. This in turn may lead to a greater number of distressed opportunities coming to market this year.”

Click here to read the full report, ‘Business Outlook 2022: Adjust, Adapt, Advance’.

For further information on this press release, contact:
Bronte Hughes, Corporate Communications Executive

P: 020 7227 0794 or E:

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