1/11/2024 | Retail

Strong demand for petrol stations will continue in 2024, Christie & Co's Business Outlook Report Reveals

Specialist business property adviser, Christie & Co, has today launched its annual Business Outlook report, 'Business Outlook 2024', which reflects on key market activity, trends and challenges of 2023 and forecasts what 2024 might bring across the industries in which Christie & Co operates, including the forecourt sector.

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The report notes that retailers came under pressure in 2023 from supply chain inflation, price- sensitive customers and rising store theft. As such, Christie & Co's retail price index moderated to 0.5%.

Transactional deal flow was slower than usual until H2, largely due to the increased cost of borrowing. Yet stabilising inflation and interest rates helped to unlock the market in the second half, and Christie & Co experienced a 20% uptick in deals agreed and 8% increase in exchanges. At independent level, asset sales under £3m drove market activity with higher valued assets remaining a rarity or ‘off market’.  Supply was limited as many retailers opted to invest in their existing sites or trade rather than sell.

The report also outlines Christie & Co's market predictions for the year ahead, which are:

  • Demand will continue to outstrip supply as buyers are attracted to the strong, needs-driven trading fundamentals that convenience retail assets offer
  • Many first-time buyers still looking to enter the sector
  • Multi-site operators will remain acquisitive and are looking to expand existing portfolios - seeking better quality, higher turnover stores to combat inflationary pressures
  • Increased acquisition activity at small multiple operator level
  • Multiples will also be looking to continue targeted divestment programs and sell sites to the independent market that no longer fit future plans

Steve Rodell, Managing Director of Retail at Christie & Co comments, "Forecourt deals were sluggish for much of 2023, and we saw many off-market deals take place where the seller is under valuing their site. Direct approaches from would-be buyers are very common in this sector, leading some operators to believe it’s relatively straight forward to find a buyer off market. 

"However, we cannot emphasise enough that to maximise the price achieved and more importantly keep the accepted offeree moving forward in the current market, you need to attract multiple buyers. This is something we are well-placed to assist with. We have seen attempts to use the economic situation to reduce the agreed price. There is no need if you have back up buyers to retain competitive tension throughout the deal process. We have access to a solid pool of buyers who are looking to acquire in 2024 and encourage any operators considering a sale this year to get in touch, to ensure they achieve the best outcome.”

Click the link below to read the full report and watch the exclusive interview with Steve Rodell, Managing Director - Retail and Michael O'Loughlin, Managing Director – 360 Degrees Retail.

Click here to read the full report: https://www.christie.com/news-resources/business-outlook/2024/

For further information on this press release, contact:     
Bronte Hughes, Corporate Communications Manager
P: 020 7227 0794 or E: bronte.hughes@christie.com