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Fri 6th Feb 2015 - Shaftesbury – restaurants and bars increasingly important to the West End
Shaftesbury – restaurants and bars increasingly important to the West End: West End property landlord Shaftesbury, which owns 587 shops, restaurants and pubs across 14 acres of the West End, has reported that the variety and quality of restaurants in the West End is becoming increasingly important as a way of attracting visitors. In a trading statement covering the period between 1 October 2014 and 5 February 2015, the company stated: “London’s West End continues to draw unrivalled numbers of visitors, attracted by its world-class heritage, cultural attractions and exceptional choice of shopping. The variety and quality of the West End’s restaurants, cafés and bars are becoming increasingly important. They are an integral part of many visits to the West End and are becoming destinations in their own right. Our strategy is to establish and foster attractive and lively destinations in our central locations in the West End, ensuring our 587 shops, restaurants, cafés and bars provide a wide range of interesting shopping, dining and leisure choices. This proven long-term approach brings to our distinctive areas greater footfall and spending, creating prosperous environments for our tenants, which support sustained rental growth. In our locations, over the important trading season leading up to Christmas and through to the New Year, visitor numbers have been good, bringing buoyant trading across our shops, restaurants, cafés, bars and pubs. The unique character of our villages, and the environment we create, continue to attract strong demand across all uses and consequently vacancy levels remain very low. Not only are we seeing new requirements for retail, restaurant, leisure and office space from businesses seeking to establish in our areas, but also from existing tenants wishing to expand their operations. In addition, our apartments let readily to those wishing to live in our vibrant locations. We continue to identify and progress a wide range of asset management opportunities across our portfolio, which include both reconfiguration and refurbishment of our buildings, as well as introducing new retail, restaurant and leisure operations and concepts to our locations. These initiatives not only deliver good initial returns, but, by virtue of the concentration of our ownerships, provide long-term benefits which are compounded across our adjacent holdings. We are advancing our plans for our two major acquisitions made in 2014: Charing Cross Road/Newport Court/Newport Place in Chinatown, and 57-59 Broadwick Street in Carnaby. We are now in detailed discussions with Westminster City Council in advance of submitting formal planning applications for both schemes. Subject to receiving the necessary consents we currently expect to commence on-site in 2016. We currently estimate a total cost of c. £22 million across both schemes. Owners in our locations remain reluctant to sell assets and, therefore, availability remains restricted. However, we have secured six properties, at a total cost of £20.4 million, in Soho, Charlotte Street and Carnaby. This included one shop, two restaurants, two cafes, a vacant pub, 3,100 sq ft of office space and eight apartments, four of which were unoccupied. These acquisitions complement our existing, extensive ownerships and offer the potential for improvement to deliver future rental and capital value growth.”
Poundland set to buy 99p stores: Poundland Group and 99p Stores have signed a conditional sale and purchase agreement for Poundland to acquire 99p Stores for an enterprise value of £55 million, comprising a cash consideration of £47.5 million and the issue of new Poundland Shares with a value of £7.5m at closing. Poundland believes that the combination of the two businesses will provide better choice, value and service for 99p Stores’ customers. The proposed transaction includes 99p Stores’ network of 251 stores (trading as ‘99p Stores’ and ‘Family Bargains’), which serve more than two million customers a week, as well as its warehouse and distribution centre. In the year to 1 February 2014, 99p Stores had sales of £370.4 million, Underlying Ebitda of £6.1 million, gross assets of £91.2 million and net assets of £11.2 million. When the two businesses are fully integrated, the proposed transaction is expected to enhance earnings per share for Poundland’s shareholders. The cash consideration of £47.5 million and the cash costs associated with the integration and restructuring of 99p Stores will be funded by an equity placing to be undertaken at or immediately prior to the closing of the Transaction and an increase in Poundland’s revolving credit facilities, reflecting its focus on preserving a conservative financial profile to support the capital investment plans in its business.
Leeds licensing lawyers Woods Whur to expand into London: Leeds licensing lawyers Woods Whur are expanding into London. Anna Mathias is joining the firm from Joelson Wilson and Woods Whur is taking space at 52 Portland Place, the offices of Davis Coffer Lyons. Mathias is a barrister with twenty years’ experience as a licensing lawyer. She is a frequent contributor to publications such as Casino Review, Estates Gazette and Betting Business and writes a monthly legal column for the pub trade magazine Inapub. Founding partner Paddy Whur said: “Andy Woods and I are delighted Anna has joined Woods Whur and we see this and the opening of our new base in London as a major push into the licensing market in London and the South of England. We already act for some key operators such as Fabric and Andy Woods looks after Novus and the Revolution units. We are delighted to have the opportunity to move into office space at 52 Portland Place, the offices of Davis Coffer Lyons. They are the leading agents in the leisure market and the industry’s leading specialist advisor to the leisure property sector. We see a great opportunity to develop our relationship having a number of existing clients in common.”

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