Large Retailers Compete For City Centre Premises

14 September 2017 – El País

Retailers that typically occupy out-of-town stores only, brands such Ikea, Decathlon, Media Markt, Leroy Merlin and Kiabi have done an about turn with their strategies. Now, they want to take their products to the heart of cities to reach clients who are not visiting them on the outskirts. They are occupying the few large retail premises that are available close to the major commercial thoroughfares of Madrid and Barcelona. They are not pushing up the rental prices of these properties yet; in fact, they are investing between €1 million and €5 million on renovation work. But they will.

The main retail areas in the centre of Madrid and Barcelona have new tenants. The so-called out-of-town retailers, which, until recently, could only be found in retail parks on the outskirts are undertaking a new urban strategy. They want to approach a new group of customers, those who want to avoid using their cars and it wants to lock them in. This week, Decathlon announced that it will open three stores in the heart of Madrid, where Leroy Merlin will also set up shop in 2018, following in the wake of Ikea (which inaugurated its store on c/Serrano in May), Kiabi (which has just done the same in Barcelona on Paseo de Gracia) and Media Markt, the first to arrive in the centre of both cities (as well as in Valencia).

The trend started two years ago in major European cities and comes in response to a move by the population towards the centre and to the fact that e-commerce is requiring companies to respond rapidly to their clients. That means being close to them, explains Robert Travers, Director at the real estate consultancy Cushman & Wakefield (…).

The strategy of these chains is to open stores on the main commercial thoroughfares of large cities in smaller spaces than those they occupy in the out-of-town retail parks, but of considerable dimensions given that they are in the centre. “They are not looking for prime locations, but rather premises very nearby, because they cannot afford the rents of operators such as Zara, Mango and H&M. Instead they pay around 30% less because their margins are smaller”, says Travers. They need streets with high footfall and premises measuring at least 1,000 m2 or 2,000 m2, with open-plan floors; such features are very few and far between in the best shopping areas.

For the time being, the arrival of these brands has not had any impact on rental prices, given that, according to Sergio Fernandes, the Director of Retail at the consultancy firm JLL, the availability of these kinds of properties on the main commercial thoroughfares is very limited and the operators that demand them are also very few. “Only the leaders of each sector are brave enough to make the move. For the time being, we are seeing only six or seven brands”, he says. Examples include Aki, Bricor, Verdecora, Sport Zone and Kiwoko Mundo Animal. Nevertheless, “they are managing to make use of certain properties that would otherwise go unoccupied as they are not in the right locations for the fashion brands”, says David Barragán, Director of Retail at the real estate firm Aguirre Newman (…).

The search is not easy, according to estate agents and retail chains (…). The negotiations are intense and prolonged because the premises need renovating and the brands demand grace periods whilst the construction work takes place, which tenants typically pay. Rental contracts are being signed for periods of between seven and 20 years.

But it is worth it. The pilot store that the Swedish chain Ikea has opened in Madrid is performing better than expected. In fact, some of the new formulas that it offers have already been extended to its other stores (customisation of fabrics, dressers and doors). Nevertheless, Ikea is still assessing whether or not to open more central stores with this format, which combines sales and entertainment (…).

Original story: El País (by Claudio Álvarez)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Axa & Sonae Sierra Team Up To Buy Área Sur Shopping Centre

16 June 2017 – Observatorio Inmobiliario

Axa Investment Managers – Real Assets and Sonae Sierra have announced the completion of their purchase of the Área Sur shopping centre (in Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz) from its owner until now, Union Investment Real Estate. For the time being, the amount paid for the operation has not been disclosed, but sources consulted by Observatorio estimate that it must have gone for more than €100 million. To carry out the acquisition operation, the buyers have constituted a joint venture, in which Axa IM – Real Assets will be the majority shareholder (with 85% of the capital), whilst Sonae Sierra will hold the remaining 15% and will be the Operating Partner.

Inaugurated in September 2007, Área Sur has a gross leasable area (GLA) of 47,000 m2, spread over three floors, as well as 2,344 parking spaces. The first floor, measuring more than 23,400 m2, is home to fashion brands such as Zara, Primark, Massimo Dutti, Cortefiel, Sfera, Bershka, Pull & Bear, Springfield, Stradivarius and Okeysi, amongst others. The top floor houses a large leisure and restaurant space, spanning 10,000 m2, as well as an 11-screen Yelmo cinema, whilst the ground floor, measuring 14,200 m2, has a Mercadona and an El Corte Inglés store.

The Área Sur shopping centre, which receives almost 7 million visitors per year, has a privileged location in one of the areas of Spain that receives the most tourists. The centre has an area of influence of almost 450,000 inhabitants, and it is one of the largest shopping centres in Andalucía.

Nathalie Charles, Regional Head of Asset Management & Transactions for Southern Europe at Axa IM – Real Estates, said that “this is our first operation in collaboration with Sonae Sierra, one of the most important professionals in the retail real estate sector in Europe and with whom we hope to have the opportunity to work on other projects in Europe in the future”.

Pedro Caupers, Chief Investment Officer at Sonae Sierra, added that “we will pour all of the experience and knowledge that we have accumulated over more than twenty-five years, to improve the returns on the asset and contribute added value to Área Sur, to turn it into one of the iconic centres in the south of Andalucía. Sources at Sonae Sierra confirm that they are continually looking for new and innovative asset management initiatives, with the aim of achieving a higher return on investment for our shareholders. Similarly, we are very happy to be carrying out this project with Axa IM – Real Assets, in accordance with our model to co-invest with other partners, assuming responsibility for the management in order to achieve the objectives set by both parties”.

Cushman & Wakefield advised Union Investment on the sell-side.

Original story: Observatorio Inmobiliario

Translation: Carmel Drake

Gran Vía: The New Showcase For Flagship Fashion Stores

5 September 2016 – Expansión

Along the one-hundred year old Gran Vía, fashion houses and hotels are now competing with restaurants, cafes, theatres and cinemas to occupy space on the sought-after street in Madrid. The thoroughfare was known as the Madrilenian Broadway in its heyday, thanks to the profusion of cinemas and theatres that it housed and which, to a lesser extent, still remain today.

In the race to set up shop on the busiest thoroughfare in Madrid, the largest brands and more contemporary designer hotels now occupy buildings that were formerly inhabited by banks, insurance companies and large cinemas.

In this sense, the size of the buildings on Gran Vía, makes them more attractive assets for fashion chains to house their large flagship stores than, for example, the properties on Calle Preciados. According to a calculation by the consultancy firm CBRE, in 2014 and 2015, real estate investment on the street amounted to €1,100 million.

Undoubtedly, the most significant operation in recent years was Pontegadea’s purchase of the property at Gran Vía, 32 in January 2015. The investment arm of Amancio Ortega, the founder and majority shareholder of the retail giant Inditex, paid €400 million for the asset. And that is the building that Primark chose to locate its flagship store, which occupies five storeys over 12,400 sqm. The megastore has become a tourist attraction in itself and there were traffic jams and queues at its doors during the first few months after its opening.

Following this example, other brands have opened stores on Gran Vía in the last year. For example, the fashion accessory chain Parfois and the Spanish jewellery firm Tous, have taken up residence at numbers 42 and 38, respectively. In addition, the cosmetics firm Nyx and the sports brand Adidas both opened new stores at numbers 21 and 36 of the Madrilenian street in the spring of 2016.

Moreover, the stretch of Gran Vía that runs from Plaza de Callao to Plaza de España has been revitalised in recent months, with the arrival of the gift and accessories chain Ale-hop at number 74, the perfume store Druni, at number 61 and Axa’s purchase of the Rex cinema building.

The future renovation of that building, alongside the refurbishment of the controversial Edificio España, which has changed hands several times in the last two years, will also help to reactivate this final stretch of the street.

Other important transactions on Gran Vía have involved the premises at number 44, measuring 500 sqm. That property, which used to house a branch of Bankia, was acquired by Hines at the beginning of the year from the Baraka group – the current owner of Edificio España – for almost €40 million. Meanwhile, the Socimi Saint Croix acquired another property on Gran Vía – specifically the building located at number 55 – for €13 million in March this year.

The size of the buildings on Gran Vía makes them ideal properties for flagship stores.

Original story: Expansión (by R.Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Redevco Iberian Ventures Buys 6 Retail Parks From Bogaris For €95M

27 April 2016 – Expansión

The shopping centres are located in Extremadura and Andalucía and have a combined surface area of 84,250 m2.

Redevco Iberian Ventures, the joint venture created between Redecvo and the funds managed by Ares Management, has acquired six retail parks located in Extremadura and Andalucía from the property developer Bogaris for approximately €95 million.

The parks, which have a combined surface area of 84,250 m2, are leased almost in their entirety to tenants such as the supermarket chains Mercadona, Aldi and Día, the fashion brands C&A, Kiabi and Merkal Calzados, and operators Burger King, Media Markt, Sprinter and Aki Bricolaje.

Specifically, the parks are: Mejostilla, in Cáceres; Kinepolis Pulianas, in Granada; Marismas del Polvorín, in Huelva; La Heredad, in Mérida; Retail Park, in Motril; and La Serena, in Villanueva de la Serena.

Ares and Redevco announced the creation of Redevco Iberian Ventures in September 2015 and following this operation, the total capital invested by the joint venture now exceeds €200 million. JLL and Deloitte acted as advisors to Redevco Iberian Ventures in the operation.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

Klépierre Close To Finalising Its Purchase Of Plenilunio

20 February 2015 – Modaes

The French company Klépierre, which specialises in the management of retail properties, is putting the finishing touches to its purchase of the Plenilunio shopping centre. The retail complex located in Madrid is one of the largest in Spain with a gross leasable area (GLA) of 70,000 square metres.

In the final stretch of the sales process, Klépierre has overtaken the fund manager Tiaa Henderson and the German fund Invesco, which have also been bidding for the property in recent weeks.

Currently, Plenilunio is owned by the fund Orion. Klepierre would be willing to pay between €380 million and €390 million for the shopping centre, which comes close to the asking price set by the current owners (€400 million). Negotiations beween Orion and Klépierre are now in full swing and a deal could be reached within the next few days. The sale of Plenilunio would break the record for the purchase of a shopping centre in Spain.

The Madrilenian centre occupies a surface area of 220,000 square metres, of which 70,000 square metres are leasable. Some of the most important fashion brands have stores in the centre, including H&M, Inditex and Primark; the latter operates its largest store in Spain in this centre.

Klépierre has an asset portfolio valued at €14,000 million and has a presence in thirteen European countries, including Italy, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Turkey.

Original story: Modaes

Translation: Carmel Drake