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Work Starts On Major Retail and Leisure Scheme In Blyth

Plans for a £4.5m new retail and leisure development in a Northumberland seaside town have moved a step closer with the appointment of a building contractor and the start of construction work.

The first phase is part of ambitious plans by developers Blagdon Estate to transform the existing derelict buildings and land on the Links Road in Blyth into a new 3,750 sq. ft. Co-op convenience store with a further six smaller units ranging from 1,000 sq. ft. to 3,350 sq. ft. available to lease. Plans for the first-floor accommodation, which has views across towards South Beach, will also create more than 4,000 sq. ft. of space to accommodate a new health and fitness gym, studio or restaurant.

The start of work, which will be overseen by North East construction consultants Consult North, appointed by Blagdon Estate to manage the project, comes in the wake of substantial residential development in the South Blyth area, which has seen 600 new homes built over the past 10 years. The project is seen as an important regeneration initiative for the town and follows economic impact studies and research revealing that visitors to Northumberland spent over £1 billion when they explored the county in 2019.

Stuart Hall, director at Kingsmead Developments, development partner with Blagdon Estate, said: “This project will help to transform an important part of Blyth, creating jobs and boost the local economy in the process. The new hub will deliver a wealth of benefits for local residents and traders, as visitor numbers continue to increase, and people spend on local amenities.”

Letting agent for the development @retail has confirmed that the Co-op will be the anchor store for the site with pre-lets already agreed with a further three occupiers. Associate director Jonathan Chapman added: “We are seeing a lot of interest in the units from potential occupiers who are keen to tap into a vibrant local economy and a growing residential population. These include restaurant operators, coffee shops, children’s nurseries and health and fitness operators. We are currently focusing on securing tenants for the remaining space, which includes a 3,350 sq. ft. standalone unit and 4,350 sq. ft. of first floor space.”

Plans for the second phase of development, which includes a further two acres of adjoining land next to the South Beach car park and national cycle route, are already underway with proposals likely to be brought forward during the course of 2022. This will open up further commercial opportunities to make the most of the beachside location including further leisure use, retirement living accommodation or other compatible uses.

17 more sites acquired for flooring brand in 2021

From Glasgow to Plymouth and from Norwich to Kidderminster, @retail has together with our joint agent Zeitlyn Farrell, completed the acquisition of 17 new stores over the last 12 months – totalling 70,000 sq. ft. of retail space – across England and Scotland for Connection Flooring’s dynamic ‘Flooring Superstore’ brand, marking a ‘fantastic’ year of growth and achievement.

@retail has been retained by the Bishop Auckland-based company as its retail property partner since 2017, when the first site was acquired in Birtley, County Durham. Today, the flooring superstore chain continues to grow and currently operates 42 branches, employing over 400 people – Ipswich was the latest store to come on stream, opening in October.

And 2022 looks even brighter with @retail’s involvement in the rollout of another 20 new stores expected to be added to the Flooring Superstore portfolio, providing customers with a range of quality carpets and laminate, vinyl and solid wood floor products.

Ian Thurlbeck, director at @retail, said: “2021 has been a very successful year for us, supporting Flooring Superstore’s ambitions and growth with a number of great new site acquisitions. We very much look forward to further success in 2022 and beyond, as the drive for acquisitions continues to forge ahead with a raft of new sites already under offer.”

Chris Barber, Chief Retail Officer for Flooring Superstore, added: “Ian and the @retail team, who have worked with us for almost five years, really understand our property needs. They have been instrumental in securing some fantastic locations for us this year, allowing us to provide customers with a great retail experience in convenient, well located and modern stores.”

Aidan Farrell of Zeitlyn Farrell also added: “We are keen to hear from other landlords and agents across the UK who might have suitable sites to accommodate Flooring Superstore’s ongoing growth. These should ideally be around 4,000 sq. ft. in size and in close proximity to DIY and home improvement operators on retail parks and busy roadside locations.”

Promotions announced following another busy year in retail

North East property consultancy @retail has announced two senior promotions as it continues to develop and grow its business.

Pete Townsend who joined the company as a graduate in 2016 and Jonathan Chapman who has more than 20 years’ experience as a chartered surveyor dealing with property matters across the North East and who joined @retail in 2020, have been promoted to the position of associate director. Both will continue to provide specialist advice and services to landlords and occupiers alike, across the region and beyond.

Clients include local and national landlords, investment funds, developers and local authorities in addition to operators such as Greggs, Sainsbury’s, Heron Foods, Fat Hippo, The Works and Franks the Flooring Store.

The promotions come as @retail has continued to maintain a strong performance during the pandemic in a sector which has seen considerable transition but also prompted increasing demand from landlords and tenants for insightful property expertise and guidance.

Recognising their value to the business, director Ian Thurlbeck, who co-founded the company with Ian Angus in 2011, said the promotions were well deserved and look to the future as much as the past.

He added: “Our investment in talented people is fundamental to the success of our business of providing top quality advice to the retail and leisure property sectors in the North East. Pete and Jonathan have both established excellent reputations for hard work, delivering results and providing an excellent service to clients and these promotions bear recognition to that, as we look ahead to the recruitment of additional property professionals to support our expanding client base.

Jonathan Chapman added: “The market is adapting to the changes in shopping patterns, working practices and property values brought about by the pandemic. We’re in a very dynamic marketplace where opportunities exist for ambitious and creative operators to secure premises in locations which may have previously been considered out of reach.

“It’s a very exciting time for @retail and the wider property sector and both Pete and I look forward to working closely with the directors to continue to develop the business and to support our clients in helping them achieve their goals.”

Flooring Superstore Expansion Continues

Flooring Superstore have opened in Glasgow this week which marks the 4th store to open in less than a moth and 17th store opened since retail was permitted to resume trade in April 2021!

An amazing achievement from everyone involved!

Helping Greggs to keep the region well fed

Helping the iconic North East brand Greggs to expand and adapt to an evolving marketplace is in many ways the ideal challenge for the team at @retail. And just like their famous pasties, we have certainly risen to the challenge.

Over the past three years, our team has acquired 13 new premises for the legendary food chain, most recently at Prudhoe Retail Park and Shields Road, Pelaw. And we have 15 further prospective Greggs sites currently under offer or in negotiation, as the leading food-on-the-go retailer continues to evolve to meet the needs of the 21st century consumer.

One of the Newcastle-based food retailer’s priorities is to find more potential Drive Thru locations, such as its successful operation at Sandy Lane on the outskirts of the city. As one of the very first of the new format to be trialled, the Sandy Lane Drive Thru has proved to be highly successful following our original acquisition of the site on behalf of Greggs.

At least another three new Drive Thru Greggs stores are set to open in the next 12 months in this region alone as we work exclusively to secure further spaces that meet Greggs requirements. But the brand’s stores are popping up around the country in other non-standard locations too, bringing a taste of Greggs to places as diverse as bus stations and transport interchanges, airports, filling stations, university campuses, roadside kiosks, as well as industrial estates and retail parks.

Our director Ian Thurlbeck explains: “High street locations are well established for Greggs across the North East, so in recent years our focus has turned to finding more ‘non-standard’ acquisitions.

“There’s also a rolling programme of relocations taking place as individual high streets and other retail settings change. Many recent such moves have been to larger sites where more customer seating can be provided.

“With our support, Greggs constantly revaluates its location strategy, striving for each store to always be perfectly positioned. The opening at Pelaw was a particular success story for us as the unit encapsulates Greggs requirements perfectly, after we spent around 15 years working to secure the ideal spot in the suburbs of Gateshead.”

The ideal Greggs spot for a Drive Thru would be for a site of around half an acre to provide a building of at least 1,800 sq. ft which is easily visible from the road and with good nearby traffic flow of around 15,000 vehicles a day and plenty dedicated or shared car parking.

Other examples of new shops we’ve secured for the brand over recent years includes Peel Retail Park in Washington and South Shields Bus and Metro Interchange, both of which opened in 2019, along with Riverside Industrial Estate in Middlesbrough, which along with a relocation in Southwick, Sunderland, opened in 2018.

If you feel you have a premises that might fit the bill, please get in touch. At @retail, we advise on all aspects of retail property management and ownership, offering strategic and operational consultancy on matters such as shopping centre leasing, investment, development, and professional services.

For further information about how we can help you to grow, visit our homepage atretail.co.uk.

@retail scores with latest city centre letting

Premium Sportswear Brand Castore Sports have been announced as official kit Partner to Newcastle Utd and @retail are pleased to have represented the Landlord in arranging the letting of their new City Centre store which will be in Unit 9A on the Blackett Street frontage of Monument Mall.

Other big names associated with the brand include Sir Andy Murray, Rangers FC and The McLaren Formula 1 Team.  Other big names associated with Monument Mall include Hugo Boss, Reiss, Michael Kors, The White Company, The Botanist and Banyan.

Please get in touch with Ian Angus of @retail or our joint agent Steve Henderson of Savills in Leeds to talk about joining the line-up.

Acquisition of key retail destination leads to new appointment for @retail

The Newcastle-based property consultancy, @retail has been appointed as joint letting agent for one of the city’s leading retail and leisure destinations.

Following the acquisition of Monument Mall by Taras Properties, @retail and Savills have been tasked with finding occupiers for two vacant retail units on the Blackett Street frontage in central Newcastle.

In recent years Monument Mall has established itself as the go-to destination for ‘high-end’ shopping and leisure in Newcastle. Occupiers include Hugo Boss, Fat Face, The White Company, Rox, Reiss and White Stuff as well as bar and restaurant operators The Botanist and Banyan.

Ian Angus, director of @retail, said: “Monument Mall is one of the most sought-after retail locations in the region and we are delighted to be working with Savills on behalf of the Landlord.

“With the availability of Unit 9A and Unit 6, there are immediate opportunities which offer fantastic positions within the city centre. We are also exploring new opportunities for food and beverage offers which we hope will lead to some exciting announcements in the months ahead.”

@retail is also advising on the retail and leisure elements of the forthcoming East Pilgrim Street mixed-use developments from the Swan House Roundabout to the South to the Northern end of Pilgrim Street and which have been initiated with the development of Bank House, a new 120,000 sq.ft Grade A office due for completion in 2023.

For more information on the opportunities available, please contact Ian Angus.

@retail helps flooring brand carpet the country

Flooring Superstore is on its way to a major milestone as it opens its 33rd branch.

@retail and Flooring Superstore have worked together since 2013 when the first location was identified for the Bishop Auckland-based retailer, and by the end of 2021, we aim to be celebrating with staff as they open their 50th UK branch.

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Over the past few months, our retail property experts have acquired new trading sites towards reaching this goal, in Norwich, Lincoln, Hull and Carlisle, and we’re in the process of sourcing new properties in key cities including Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield, as well as in major Scottish towns and cities.

Chris Barber, Chief Retail Officer for Flooring Superstore, which currently employs more than 350 people across the country, explains: “@retail has been part of our journey from day one, helping secure some fantastic locations for us right across the UK.

“The team has been a real help in understanding and securing the right properties for our business, which blends a robust ecommerce offering with a modern retail experience. For us and our customers, nothing is better than being able to see and touch a product in person, and that’s going to be part of our shoppers’ demands for a long time to come.

“It’s all about balancing the technological elements with the physical, tactile and sensory to create a truly rounded shopping experience – one store at a time. Augmented reality will bring online and offline offerings even closer together and our showrooms are futuristic and experiential. We plan to stay at the forefront of that to lead the way in this field.”

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Our director Ian Thurlbeck says: “The key to our strategy is really getting under the skin of our client’s businesses to truly understand their needs. Flooring Superstore is unique in that it doesn’t rely on huge footprints because not all of its stock is held in store.

“Getting the right size stores, in the right location and at the right time is crucial, and working together using insight based on consumer research allows us to target hot spot areas.

“Flooring Superstore is on its way to achieving countrywide coverage by the end of the year due to this approach, and its drive to become the UK’s most pioneering flooring retailer for staff and customers alike frames the way we work to find locations that are the best fit.

“This means Chris and his team can focus on increasing footfall by creating a brand experience that is second to none.”

Flooring Superstore is also working to develop eco-friendly product ranges and grow within this sector. It will plant 20 million trees over the next five years to become carbon neutral and contribute towards a positive environmental impact. One million trees have already been planted by the chain over the past 10 months thanks to its rapid growth.

Flooring Superstore’s Catford Hill Retail Park branch will open its doors tomorrow (Saturday, June 19th), and more are due to follow in the next few months. Aidan Farrell of Zeitlyn Farrell represents Flooring Superstore in the south of England.

At @retail, we advise on all aspects of retail property management and ownership, offering strategic and operational consultancy on matters such as shopping centre leasing, investment, development, and professional services.

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