LaSalle targets UK out-of-town retail

The Chicago-based firm says it has acquired 29 percent of all out-of-town retail assets sold over the last 12 months in Britain.

LaSalle Investment Management is leading a “countercyclical” investment drive into UK out-of-town retail market, the firm said today.

According to the firm, it has acquired 29 percent of all out-of-town retail acquisitions made over the last 12 months including Borehamwood Shopping Park, Silverlink Retail Park in Newcastle and The Eastgate Centre in Bristol.

The company said today it had invested heavily in the sector, based on its analysis that retail should out-perform the overall market over the next five years. Since October last year the firm has bought £660 million (€731 million; $1 billion) worth of retail assets overall and sold £140 million.

It believes retail assets in stronger towns and those let with good covenants, will significantly out-perform the market in the medium-term.  Good quality warehouses will attract retailers seeking well-configured space in desirable locations and on a more affordable basis than the high street, it said. 

Alan Tripp, managing director of UK business said its strategy to invest heavily in the retail sector had already been vindicated with yields improving substantially since the start of the year.

“The investment market at the end of 2008 and into early 2009 was characterised by a range of distressed sellers, with open-ended funds, in particular, seeking to meet redemptions,” said Tripp. “We were able to take advantage of vendors who had liquidity problems and to pick out the stock we wanted.  They dealt with us because we were equity buyers and they knew we would perform.”

LaSalle has bought in parks ranked by their profitability for tenants. Where it has taken on vacant premises, it has already let the units, it said.