Category Archives: Business

30% of all retail stock is now redundant – Jones Lang LaSalle

In its first annual property forecast since its merger with King Sturge it warned that the only in-town locations not to undergo decline would be central London and the top 20 regional destinations.

JLL calculates that 30 per cent of all retail stock is now redundant and needs to be recycled. But on a positive note this will present opportunities for food stores, cinemas and residential to come back into the town centre.

According to JLL research, 50 per cent of all retail leases are set to expire between now and 2015, with half of those expiring in 2012 and 2013. This includes some major chunks of retail real estate including schemes such as Hammerson’s West Quay in Southampton. Some retailers like Arcadia have already signalled their intention not to renew leases. And according to Grainger retailers like Dixons are only renewing if they can negotiate a flexible deal with the landlord, often involving a £1 headline rent with a turnover top-up.

Secondary locations are most at risk, according to JLL, and often landlords’ concessions are not enough to convince retailers to stay. Because rateable values have not been revealed since 2008, in many towns rates payable now exceed the rent on a new letting.

But out-of-town the picture is brighter, and JLL forecast a surge in development activity as landlords redevelop second-generation retail parks built in the 1980s with new units to captalise on strong demand from high street retailers such as John Lewis, Marks & Spencers and Debenhams.

My retail media

Bombay Bicycle Club Collapses – Shilpa Shetty loses £6 Million

The famous Curry Chain Bombay Bicycle Club/Tiffinbites collapsed into administration today.

It was saved by V8 Group last year, with Bollywood and Big Brother Star Shilpa Shetty putting in £6million, for one third stake.  But Losing £2.6 million a year on £10 million of sales its financiers forced closure.

Shipla tried to introduce a range of ready meals, as if it were a supermarket, including, and yes this is true, Jane Goody memorial poppadoms.

The groups main asset was it brand and good locations.  Its curries were a cut above most takeaways and are apparently Gorden Ramseys weekly favorite.  I always found them too expensive and underspiced for regular consumption.  They gathered too a reputation for slow service for not expanding fast enough to meet demand at peak times.

As discretionary spending collapsed in the recession it embarked on selling its prime premises.  A number of which have already been snapped up, include the Tiffinbites restaurants in Canary Wharf and the City and the Kings Road branch of Bombay Bicycle Club, Jubilee Place and Chelsea.  Other sites in Greenwich (my local), St Paul’s and Hampstead are under offer.

As the sites are excellent ones there are no problems with finding takers for high end restaurants, but the margin in this business is takeaways.    Rather than retrenching they should have exploitied their good locations and cut prices on takeaways.  They also should have found ways of meeting demand at Friday/Saterday/Sunday peak times – perhaps by utilising spare kitchens in places like schools, by going for volume they could have cut their costs.

Eddie Stobart International Airport

Haulage giant Eddie Stobart died at the end of March aged 56.  He built up the Stobart Group to dominate our motorways and it has been run by his brother since 2004.

EasyJet at Southend Airport

The Stobart group own Southend airport.  Freddy Laker started here but it was eventually overshadowed by Stansted.  With Standsted expansion falling away airlines have looked further afield

Southend airport expansion was backed in the Airports White Paper and the Seras report, but it was though unlikely to expand because of the runways planned at Standstead.  It also had a too short runway with a road at the end of it.

In 2009 they applied to extend the runway and build a new railway station enabling larger short haul flights and move the road.  They got permission and JR by a campaign group was denied.

Now the cat has got the cream.  Easyjet are moving in.  Today they announced launching 70 flights a week on 10 scheduled routes in April 2011, this will make it as big in terms of passenger number as London City Airport.

Three new routes have already been confirmed – Barcelona, Faro and Ibiza – but other destinations expected to be served from Southend include Madrid, Milan,Amsterdam,Berlin, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Belfast.

The runway isn’t quite long enough to reach further than Madrid.

Lets hope they now rechristen it Eddie Stobart International Airport Essex – in tribute.  Perhaps one day they will have planes in green and white with pilots who honk and wave at other planes and they fly by.

The Stobart Group has already brought Carlise airport and with ambitions to get into air freight have formed a subsidiary Stobart Air

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