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Landsec increases ownership of Bluewater centre in £172m deal, as retail rents stabilise

·1-min read
Landsec has increased its ownership of the Bluewater shopping centre  (Ian West/PA Archive/PA Images)
Landsec has increased its ownership of the Bluewater shopping centre (Ian West/PA Archive/PA Images)

Property giant Land Securities has purchased an additional 25% share in the Bluewater shopping centre for £172 million, demonstrating a vote of confidence in the retail real estate sector.

The FTSE 100 firm pointed to retail rents and values starting to “stabilise” as the purchase from Lendlease Retail Partnership was announced.

Landsec already owned 30% of the Kent site, where there is a cinema and brands such as Apple, Primark and Zara have stores. Amazon this year selected the mall for its first 4-star physical shop outside of the US.

In a separate deal, the firm will sell 25% of the new share it is buying to M&G, one of Bluewater’s co-owners. On completion that brings Landsec’s total share to 48.75%.

Bruce Findlay, managing director of retail at Landsec, said: "We’re making this acquisition at a time when retail values and rents are starting to stabilise. Together with our co-owners, we have a clear vision for Bluewater which builds on what is already a thriving retail destination.”

Findlay added: “This investment underlines our strategic commitment to major retail destinations that offer something that can’t easily be replicated online."

Retail property values have dropped in many cases during the pandemic, and landlords saw numerous tenants having to close shops for lockdowns.

But in its half year results published last month, Landsec, which has a £11 billion property portfolio, pointed to encouraging signs.

The landlord and developer said in the six months to September it had seen “established retailers relocate into our centres from other nearby locations, others take the opportunity to upsize their existing space and digital native brands take physical space to complement their online offer”.

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