Brexit fears slowing store sales, says property specialist

Christie & Co report

Uncertainty around Brexit has put the brakes on the retail property market, according to Christie & Co’s Business Outlook report for 2019.

However, the specialist convenience retail property adviser said pent-up demand from investors could lead to a surge in the number of businesses changing hands once the economy stabilises post-Brexit.

Outlining current market conditions, Steve Rodell, Christie’s MD for Retail said: “The convenience sector, including petrol stations, continues to account for over a fifth of the overall grocery market and is only set to strengthen, showing an average of 4% compound annual growth.”

With 31% of the market, he said independents – usually part of a symbol group – continued to “dominate” site ownership.

“This fragmented market allows and encourages a steady stream of activity by both corporates and independents to be maintained,” he said.

Rodell also predicted Bestway’s buying spree to continue in 2019, following last year’s acquisition of the Bargain Booze and Wine Rack brands.

The report further revealed that store owners reinvested £814m in their businesses in 2018. Christie’s Global Managing Director Chris Day said operators who continued to reinvest were “thriving”.

“Being able to adapt, adopt new trends and introduce relevant technology to improve services and cost-effectiveness will see any business prosper compared to those who have failed to prepare for the future,” he said.