Investing in convenience stores ‘will pay off’

Sector is a good bet, says property experts Christie & Co

Steve Rodell, managing director of retail at Christie & Co.
Steve Rodell, managing director of retail at Christie & Co.

CONVENIENCE retail remains a solid sector in which to invest, according to specialist business property adviser Christie & Co.

Its Business Outlook 2024 report found that many stores maintained good profitability in 2023, which fuelled buyer appetite.

Steve Rodell (pictured), managing director of retail at Christie & Co, said: “While it is clear to all that the economy faced a variety of challenges in 2023, the convenience sector was one to ‘weather the storm’.

“It remains a solid sector in which to invest, even though it faced increasing competition from major corporate entities.

“Buyers new to the industry need to take good advice on location and store format before jumping in. But, when they get it right, the return on investment can be attractive.”

The Christie & Co team received multiple offers per instruction and the firm said the long-term trend remained on an upwards trajectory.

Company data for 2023 showed the aggregate value of offers was 31% higher and instruction viewings increased by 17% compared with 2022.

Demand was strongest for mid to high-turnover stores with sales of £25,000 or more a week, with buyers willing to pay premiums for such sites.

Christie & Co said the activity came despite the pressures retailers faced from supply chain inflation, price-sensitive customers and rising store theft.

And the report predicts that demand will continue to outstrip supply as buyers are attracted to the strong, needs-driven trading characteristics of convenience retail. The property firm also says many first-time buyers are still looking to enter the sector.

And multi-site operators are looking to expand existing portfolios by seeking better-quality, higher-turnover stores to combat inflationary pressures.

Mark Lavery, associate director – retail & garden centres in Scotland, said the convenience property market here was “very robust”, particularly for retailers with larger store portfolios and healthy revenue streams.

He added: “We get inquiries every day about property sales and we are here to provide sound advice about timings and values.”