Project Endeavour high res

Bestway Retail has begun the divestment of 37 of its stores left over from the Bargain Booze acquisition in 2018.

Part of ‘Project Endeavour’, the sites are a combination of Bargain Booze, Wine Rack, Select Convenience and Central Convenience stores that “no longer fit Bestway Retail’s future strategy”.

The properties are available for individual purchasing. The stores are all held leasehold and Christie & Co, who is in charge of the sale, reported that the majority of stores have seen record uplifts in trade during Covid-19. Bestway undertook an estate review in 2019 to determine what type of store would be best suited to a particular area.

Commenting on the divestments, managing director of Bestway Wholesale Dawood Pervez said: “We remain committed to corporate stores and would still be operating c140 stores further to 37 stores changing ownership. We do expect a large number of these stores to remain within our supply. The process is being undertaken to ensure that our estate is in the best possible shape for our format ambitions.

“The stores are being sold as going concerns so Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) applies and therefore staff will be transferred accordingly.”

Director of retail at Christie & Co Mark Kaluza said: “These stores couldn’t have come to market at a better time, when there is heightened interest in convenience retail. We have already agreed a number of deals on these stores since coming to the market. The sector has received a real boost though the Covid-19 crisis as more customers shop locally. At the same time, Christie & Co’s Buyer Registration Index shows a significant rise in retail buyer registrations as existing retailers are keen to add stores and first-time buyers look for their own business.”

Christie & Co’s managing director of retail Steve Rodell spoke to recently to discuss renewed interest in the sector and why it’s a good time to invest. “Market sentiment is good. It flows from what has happened during Covid-19 period. When we were locked down people couldn’t go anywhere like the supermarkets but essential services like convenience stores remained open. Every consumer had to go to their local shop and consequently there was a significant rise in sales across convenience businesses.”

With all of the sites located outside of London, this feeds into buying trends that Rodell has seen of late. “We’re seeing an interesting move of people from London into the north and Scotland where there is a perceived better value for money. Some of the sites in those areas are not expensive to buy and you can get more for your money in those situations.”