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Fri 17th Sep 2021 - Aviva Investors sells eight-strong pub package let to Marston’s for over £20m
Aviva Investors sells eight-strong pub package let to Marston’s for over £20m: Aviva Investors has sold the eight-strong freehold pub package let to Marston’s, which it placed on the market earlier this summer, to a private investor, for over £20m. Propel understands that the buyer is Telereal Trillium, one of the largest privately-owned property companies in the UK. Aviva Investors instructed CBRE to sell the group of pubs, which are located across the UK, with a guide price of £21.6m reflecting a net initial yield of 5.75% in the first year, rising to circa 7.75% in year ten and almost 18% by lease expiry in 2055. The pubs were being marketed under the name Project Gold. The pubs have a total rent roll of £1,326,506 per annum, subject to Retail Price Index-linked rent reviews, collar and capped at 1% and 4%. The rent was originally set in 2014 at projections of circa 35% of Ebitdar. The pubs are the Blaina Wharf, Newport; Featherbed, Shrewsbury; Flying Shuttle, Haverhill, Suffolk; Market Cross in Dunstable, Bedfordshire; Sweet Chestnut, Dunfermline; Three Lights, Fleetwood, Lancashire; Waterwheel, Port Glasgow; Inverclyde; and White Willow, Bridgwater, Somerset. Additionally, each lease includes the provision for the tenant to benefit from a £1 buyback option in 2055. All of the assets are operated by Marston’s, with guarantees from the Marston’s topco. David Fraser, senior director and investment specialist, Operational Real Estate, CBRE said “We are delighted to have advised Aviva on the sale of this portfolio, which attracted interest from a wide range of investors. The sale of this income strip reflects investor confidence in the hospitality investment market recovery following the easing of trading restrictions.”

64 multi-site companies set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies: At least 64 new multi-site companies, operating 352 sites, have been added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-site Companies, which will be released on Friday, 1 October, at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, will feature a number of international growth brands making their UK debut. They include Poké House, Europe’s most popular poke bowl chain, with a fast-growing total of 55 stores, which has finally opened its first UK restaurant in London’s Notting Hill with plans to expand into city locations, shopping centres, outdoor kiosks and dark kitchens in the UK. Also being added is Pitaya, the rapidly-growing Thai fast casual brand based in France, which has more than 150 locations in Europe, and opened its first UK site in London’s Covent Garden, under franchise, and plans to open ten more in Britain. Premium subscribers will also receive a 9,000 word report on the new additions to the database. The comprehensive database is updated monthly and provides company names, the people in charge, how many sites each firm operates, its trading name and its registered name at Companies House if different. It features more than 2,000 companies. Alongside this, Premium subscribers will also receive the third edition of the New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Wednesday, 6 October, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. Premium subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out plus regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel insights editor Mark Wingett. In this week’s Premium Opinion column, which will be sent to subscribers on Friday (17 September) at 5pm, Lavender Bank Partners Geof Collyer analyses what is going on at Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog, whether the company will stage an initial public offering, its funding and valuation, and the make-up of its boardroom. Meanwhile, former Mitchells & Butlers, Marston’s and SA Brain executive Alistair Darby explores how the pandemic has shown that employees want more from their leaders at all levels, and three fundamental and linked themes – “audiencecentricity”, inclusion and innovation – must be at the forefront of thinking. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The regular single subscription rate of £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers remains the same. Email to subscribe.

Delivery and takeaway sales ride high for restaurant and pub groups in August: Managed restaurant and pub groups’ delivery and takeaway sales were close to treble their pre-pandemic levels in August, the latest edition of the CGA & Slerp Hospitality at Home Tracker reveals. It shows sales were 176% higher than in August 2019, and 70% higher than in August 2020, when restaurants and pubs were trading under covid restrictions. While year-on-year growth has slowed since the first quarter of 2021, when the sector was completely closed for eating-in, deliveries and takeaways accounted for 27% of managed operators’ total sales in August. The Tracker shows 2021-on-2020 growth in delivery sales was more than five times the size of takeaways. It also indicates that drinks accounted for 10% of all order sales in August – a sign of its growing importance in the delivery and takeaway sector. The figures confirm a strong August for hospitality groups. The separate Coffer CGA Business Tracker, with a different cohort of contributing companies, has revealed managed restaurants, pubs and bars grew sales by 5% on August 2019. “Businesses have seen the potential of embracing a multi-channel strategy – online and on premise together – which is directly impacting how they’re thinking about growing their businesses moving forward,” said JP Then, founder of Slerp. “It’s affecting everything from retail footprints and site layouts to who they need to hire in head office to manage their digital channels. The most progressive businesses are seeing digital as a core part of their growth strategy, not just incremental revenue for right now.” Karl Chessell, CGA’s business unit director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA, said: “Deliveries and takeaways were a big factor in groups’ robust trading in August, and while their share of sales has dropped since the return of eating out, it’s clear they remain a powerful part of the sales mix. Lingering safety concerns about going out and large numbers of people staying close to home for holidays will both have boosted the market in the short term. In the longer run, the convenience and quality of deliveries that people experienced during the pandemic has helped to build a substantial new market that is here to stay.”

Two in five British businesses are struggling to find workers: Recruitment challenges are spreading through the economy with two fifths of companies reporting difficulty securing workers, according to a report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The Times reports that in a sign that labour shortages are getting worse, the ONS found that 41% of businesses with ten or more staff said they struggled to fill positions in the two weeks to 5 September, up from 32% in early August. Across all businesses, 13% said they had experienced difficulty finding workers, up from 9% in August. Sectors that rely heavily on EU workers were the hardest hit. The ONS said that businesses in the hospitality industry were more than twice as likely to be suffering from shortages. Almost a third, 30%, of hospitality businesses said that vacancies were proving more difficult to fill than normal. Official estimates suggest that about 100,000 EU citizens left the UK during the pandemic and the migrant workforce has not recovered to its pre-pandemic size. This has constrained the supply of labour, as has the absence of almost two million people who are still on furlough and high levels of economic inactivity among young people, who are disproportionately represented in hospitality jobs. It noted that a quarter of businesses reporting staff shortages cited the lack of EU applicants as a factor. Among transport and storage businesses, almost half – 46% – blamed staff shortages on a lack of EU workers.

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