Not All Retail Investments Deserve To Be On The Naughty Bench

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Despite the tumultuous change sweeping through the retail sector, we had a busy end to the Q3 trading period suggesting that not all investors are running scared. However, in every instance there is a recurring theme – a desire for low risk/high quality investments attained through either undoubted tenant financial strength, long lease or sustainable location.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the defensive nature of the grocery sector still holds attraction. We quietly sold a ground lease investment in Rochdale let to Tesco for an unexpired term of 80 years at a sub 4% yield. Whilst the potential for future rental growth might be less deserving of a low yield the longevity of the income is undeniable. Conversely, it was the growth potential associated with fixed rental increases that enabled us to sell the Aldi in Sale for a price showing a yield of 4.5% for 16 years term certain.

We were very pleased to complete the purchase of 35 Petty Cury, Cambridge for the Ludgate Estates. This prime High Street shop is leased to the “internet resilient” company of Timpsons for another 8 years, thus offering the prospect of stable income. However, it is the impressive dynamic of the local economy, founded on the global reputation of the University, that convinced our client that Cambridge has a long term sustainable position in the national retail hierarchy.

Finally, the growth of the leisure sector and the transition to convenience is driving the expansion of the drive thru coffee shops. With the backing of Coca Cola, it is widely expected that Costa is on the road to becoming a global brand. With the added benefit of 15 years term certain and guaranteed growth linked to the Retail Price Index, The District Estates were delighted to acquire Costa’s new Drive Thru at Crewe Business Park for a price showing a yield of 5%. The nature of the strategic location, adjacent to a main arterial road and a new business park, should ensure a successful trading operation.

As always, it is about stock selection to guarantee a sustainable investment. Critically, understanding the function of a property in any given location is more important than ever when attempting to determine the good from the bad.


Acting on a joint agency basis with Hynes Illingworth, Cheetham & Mortimer have agreed a 10 year lease with Grindsmith for the property, which extends to approximately 1,250 sq ft at ground floor, with a further 450 sq ft of ancillary lower ground floor space.

Josh Moores, surveyor at Cheetham & Mortimer, commented “the ground floor retail space actually forms the entrance to the upper floor office scheme, so there was only a handful of quality operators who could make this space work. Grindsmith were always our first choice and we look forward to seeing them flourish”.

September 2018


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Advised by Cheetham & Mortimer, footwear boutique Art & Sole has taken a five-year lease on a 2,500 sq ft unit at 5 St Mary’s Gate, opposite Paperchase and next to Zara between Market Street and Deansgate.

The unit on St Mary’s Gate has been empty for some time but Art & Sole is set to open its first store on the site, stocking ultra-limited-edition footwear from the likes of Nike and Adidas.

The fashion boutique is understood to be paying rent of £90,000 per year on a five-year lease, with two years at half rent. Metis acted for the landlord, Millerbrook Property.

Josh Moores, surveyor at Cheetham & Mortimer, said: “The current state of the retail market has been well documented but we are keen to explore the opportunities that this creates for independent operators such as Art & Sole, who will occupy a prominent unit close to established national operators Paperchase, Zara, M&S and Selfridges.”

September 2018


Recently, Amazon quite rightly received adverse publicity for their ridiculously low tax exposure following a threefold rise in profit. Morally, this might be unfair but legally, Amazon have done nothing wrong.

If you want to adopt the moral high ground and support the high street, cease shopping online at Amazon. However, in my opinion, the moral finger of blame should be firmly directed towards the government and their persistent bludgeoning of traditional business via Business Rates. Retail Week published a very sobering statistic this week – In the latest revaluation House of Fraser endured a 57% increase in the Rateable Value of their flagship store on Oxford Street delivering a rate burden from a single store that is greater than Amazon’s entire tax contribution. That’s just simply wrong. Until the government addresses such inequalities, traditional retailers will struggle to compete and the High Street will continue to decline.

Rob Millington

August 2018

What Does The Future Hold For Mid-Sized Towns?

Yesterday’s announcement by Ask Developments that they are withdrawing from their proposed leisure scheme in Macclesfield will come as an immense disappointment to the local residents – especially as it was supposed to be a more sensible and measured development project following the agonising death of Wilson Bowden’s grand scheme.  However, more worryingly, it must throw into doubt the vaunted belief that growth in the leisure sector will be the saviour for many mid-sized towns.

The worry must be that if an experienced development company like Ask are unable to deliver the scheme, and in the absence of some kind of public funding, then what is the hope for anyone else?  We worked with Ask on the development of Eden Square in Urmston.  It coincided with a very turbulent time for both property development and the company. However, Ask knuckled down and focused on the project and against our expectations, they went on to deliver a very successful scheme and for which they deserve utmost respect. Therefore, if Macclesfield could be delivered, then I am certain Ask would deliver.

Unfortunately, the development has coincided with tumultuous change in the leisure sector.  A number of high profile operators have either failed (it was the turn of Gaucho/Cau yesterday) or are looking very sickly (Carluccio’s/Jamie's/Byron etc, etc, etc).  Whilst this is undoubtedly a concern to funders, I doubt they even got as far as funding the project. The leisure market is very crowded and consumer expenditure is under pressure – again, it’s those forces of supply and demand working their influence.

Going forward, this must surely challenge the current widely held belief that the introduction of leisure will arrest the decline of failing town centres, ie Stockport.  Unless there is a vibrant and compelling retail offer to sit alongside the leisure, customers will simply choose to shop elsewhere and the decline will continue, ie Northwich.  The two offers are mutually dependent but both still rely on a sustainable trading environment.

Rob Millington

July 2018


We are delighted to announce that the lease to M&S on a new purpose built Foodhall in Westbridge Park has finally completed.  It has only taken 2½ years to complete the deal, but we are confident that the local residents will find the wait worthwhile.

Best of all, this is a refreshing example of all the parties coming together to collectively make development happen.  Liberty Properties Developments Limited displayed exceptional levels of skill, professionalism and perseverance in balancing the needs of the Council, progressing the scheme through planning and addressing the many construction challenges that arose.  If you are a Council seeking a reliable Development Partner, look no further than Liberty!

Their Funding Partner, C Le Masurier, were also brilliant - their unfaltering commitment, patience and flexibility undoubtedly ensured the eventual delivery of the development.  We are hopeful that this is the start of a fruitful working relationship - just remember who played cupid!

Finally, M&S played their part in granting some flexibility on the agreed terms to assist with the viability.

The investment shows a return of approximately 5% on a 20 year lease to M&S Plc at a commencing rental of £230,000 per annum.

For further information, please contact Rob Millington.

July 2018



Cheetham & Mortimer have been formally appointed by owners Benson Elliot as joint letting agents for the Fishergate Shopping Centre in Preston.

Acting jointly with GCW, we are excited to be involved in this prime city centre shopping centre anchored by both Debenhams and Primark.

The excellent location of the centre adjacent to the city's principal car park, railway station and fronting Fishergate ensures it will continue to be a highly sought after location.

Any interested parties should contact either Warwick Smither or Conor Mulloy for further details.

Units Currently Available:

Unit 3.6 - Fishergate Shopping Centre
Unit 3.8 - Fishergate Shopping Centre
Unit 3.10 - Fishergate Shopping Centre
Unit 3.11-3.13 - Fishergate Shopping Centre
Unit 11B - Fishergate Shopping Centre
6 Butler Street - Fishergate Shopping Centre

June 2018



Home Bargains and KFC will join Morrisons as anchor tenants for St Modwen’s redevelopment of Kirkby town centre with the former taking a 20,000 sq ft unit.

Home Bargains will relocate from its existing store on St Chad’s Parade to act as the second retail anchor for the 110,000 sq ft redevelopment, which secured planning permission last year.

It joins Morrisons as one of the main retail tenants at the scheme after the supermarket signed for a 45,000 sq ft unit in September last year. The food store is expected to generate around 200 jobs.

KFC also becomes the redevelopment’s first food anchor taking a 3,500 sq ft unit.

The wider scheme includes shops, a petrol filling station, car parking, and public realm. St Modwen purchased the site from Tesco in 2015 for £35.8m and demolition of the existing derelict buildings, including the former Asda and Gala Bingo hall, is well under way.

Paul Batho, development director for St. Modwen, said: “We are really pleased to be able to announce these additions to the scheme which is testament to Kirkby’s strong draw and the quality of the scheme that has been designed.

“With Morrisons, Home Bargains and KFC on board we are looking to create an attractive mix of retail brands that complement each other and the current offering within the town centre.

The retained agents for the scheme are Colliers International and Cheetham & Mortimer.

Read on Place North West

June 2018


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You can read our new 'Data Protection & Privacy Policy' here.

May 2018



Acting on behalf of London Metric, Cheetham and Mortimer, acting jointly with Morgan Williams, have agreed a 15 year lease with Boyes for the property which extends to approximately 6,300 sq ft at ground floor with a further 2,850 sq ft at first floor level.

Josh Moores, Surveyor at Cheetham and Mortimer commented ‘this letting was particularly challenging due to some configuration issues but after much hard work we were able to find a solution and secure the letting to Boyes’.

March 2018



Acting on a joint agency basis with Hynes Illingworth, Cheetham and Mortimer have agreed a 10 year lease at 31 Princess Street to Artisan Café, Hamptons and Vouis for their second site within Greater Manchester.

Josh Moores, Surveyor at Cheetham and Mortimer commented ‘We had multiple national operator interest in this site but a client who was very much ‘offer driven’ and was focussed on providing a complementary use to the office space at the upper levels of the building. We believe Hamptons and Vouis provides the perfect balance.’

March 2018


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Cheetham & Mortimer are delighted to be solely retained by Peel, as the letting agents for the highly prominent, commercial space within No. 1 Princes Dock.

Princes Dock is the first phase of Liverpool Waters, located adjacent to the iconic Royal Liver Building.  With its prestigious location and panoramic views over the River Mersey, Princes Dock is a quality business destination and leisure complex located in the heart of the city.  Already an established office location, the neighbourhood also provides multi-storey car parking facilities, three residential buildings and is located in the heart of the rapidly expanding Liverpool Waters development.  Upon completion, Liverpool Waters will provide in excess of 3.4 million sq ft of high quality business space.

With household names such as MalMaison, Crowne Plaza and Bean Coffee already located within the development, this property provides an excellent opportunity for leisure operating retailers alike seeking to gain representation in this highly sought after location.

For further information regarding the available accommodation, please download our brochure here.

January 2018


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Acting on instructions from Costcutter Supermarkets Group Limited, Cheetham & Mortimer have successfully arranged the sale and leaseback of a portfolio of village 'C' stores situated in the North East of England to Pride View Properties Limited. 

By planning in advance, the deal was able to be concluded within 9 working days from the agreement of terms.

Costcutter have been impacted by the failure of their suppliers, Procter & Harvey, but with a new agreement with the Co-Op due to take effect in the Spring, the company is now on a firmer footing.  Costcutter entered into 15 year leases with fixed rental increases every 5 years, based on 2% per annum compounded.  The deal reflects an initial return of 7.5%.

January 2018


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Guy Montague Jones has provided a sobering Analysis in Property Week this week (15.12.2017) of the prospects facing the secondary shopping centre market based on the outcome of an investment sale in Falkirk.

This sector of the market was destined to be a car crash – Private Equity buying debt at a discount to value based on a cyclical play but without proper regard to the trends shaping the retail market. Only this time it’s different. The change is structural and the resulting destruction in value is happening on an unprecedented scale in mid-sized towns across the UK – witness schemes in Wrexham and Rochdale.

It’s simply a demonstration of the basic Economic principles of “Supply and Demand”- and not even the local councils, armed with cheap cash and misplaced civic pride, are able to defy market forces.

However, on an island where land is supposedly in short supply, there must be viable alternative uses. Residential and Social care are obvious choices. Such provision will require clever wholescale re-development and careful planning, but this process cannot commence until those parties with vested interests come to terms with their inevitable fate and values are allowed to be trashed. The sooner this process can begin, the better.

Robert Millington, Partner, Cheetham & Mortimer
21st December 2017


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With only 2 days left until you can open the first door on your advent calendar and the Christmas tree arriving at the C&M office, it’s now officially Christmas!

This year we are partaking in the Estates Gazette Christmas Greetings Charity Page which, to date, has raised more than £1.35m for charity.  In lieu of sending business Christmas cards this year, one of the charities we are donating to is The Joshua Tree, who support families across the North West living with childhood cancer (

The team at Cheetham & Mortimer would like to wish everyone a healthy, happy and enjoyable Christmas period.

November 2017



National developer St. Modwen has completed on the investment sale of its Branston Square site, which has been sold to a private investor for £1.775m.

The shopping parade, in Branston, near Burton upon Trent, which was constructed in 2015, comprises a terrace of five fully let shop units, including a Co-op food store, Birds bakery, tanning salon, restaurant and Barnardo’s charity shop.

Ian Romano, Development Director at St. Modwen, said: “We received strong interest from investors, and the completion of the sale of Branston Square demonstrates that a combination of capital value, income profile and projected return is ideally suited to the requirements of a private investor. Our focus is now on the next phase of speculative industrial development at Burton Gateway.”

The sale follows the recent news that St. Modwen has submitted plans for more than 100,000 sq ft of industrial space in the next phase of development at its 1m sq ft Burton Gateway commercial business park – one of the largest warehouse developments in the Midlands.

Branston Square forms part of a 175-acre mixed use urban extension which, once completed, will comprise 660 new houses and 1m sq ft of industrial, storage and distribution units.

Formerly a 280-acre wasteland, St. Modwen carried out extensive highway works to support the regeneration of the area and, in turn, develop a key location for commercial and residential development.

For more information on Burton Gateway, visit

For more information visit

Cheetham and Mortimer represented St. Modwen in the sale.

Peter Hale & Associates and Savills represented the purchaser and the investment manager was Prideview.

November 2017


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Acting on behalf of an LPA Receiver, Cheetham & Mortimer, together with joint agents, Preston O’Herlihy, have sold the final 0.75 acres at Barrow Brook Business Village to Red Rose Holdings Ltd who have planning approval to construct a private nursery.  This follows the sale last year of approximately 1.75 acres to Euro Garages.

Commenting on the sale, Barrie Cochrane of Cheetham & Mortimer says “there was considerable demand from developers and occupiers for these prominent freehold roadside sites.  Such opportunities are rare in this popular location”.

October 2017


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Acting on instruction from Ropemaker Properties, in a joint venture arrangement with Marcus Worthington Properties, we are delighted to announce the sale of Phase 2 New Hall Hey Retail Park to Kames Property Income Fund. 

Cheetham & Mortimer negotiated the purchase of the land from West Register in January 2016. At the time, the site had planning permission for a leisure scheme. Worthingtons immediately set about getting the planning use changed to Retail use. This enabled us, with our joint agent Lamb & Swift, to arrange lettings to Aldi, Home Bargains, Costa, Domino’s and Card Factory. Worthingtons, acting as contractor, completed the 38,400 sq ft five unit scheme in September this year.  The investment will generate a total income of £577,500 per annum. The sale price of £9,220,000 reflects a net return of 5.85%

Robert Millington, investment partner, commented “It has been very satisfying being part of the team that has helped to deliver this investment from inception through to completion. Our skill base is ideally suited to this type of project. Kames were the natural buyer for this investment. Having acquired phase 1- a former Homebase that had been subdivided and let to M&S, TKMaxx and Pets at Home – this consolidates their ownership in a modern retail asset that is strategically located on the road network and able to accommodate the ongoing shift towards convenience shopping”.

October 2017


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Acting on behalf of Beaconsfield Estates, Cheetham & Mortimer have let a unit at 41 Cross Street, Manchester to Totally Wicked on a five year lease.  The unit previously traded as Cheque Centre. 

Josh Moores, surveyor at Cheetham & Mortimer, commented "following the completion of the tram works, this letting emphasises the improvement in the pitch as demonstrated by a notable reduction in the void rate".

Cheetham & Mortimer acted for the landlords and Whitelaw Baikie Figes advised Totally Wicked.

October 2017