Hot links: The week in Europe property news

Publish Date: August 29, 2014

Topics: europe

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Here's a survey of what local news sources are reporting about retail property in Europe.

• Lidl nearly doubling U.K. store countThis is Money Germany-based Lidl has big expansion plans for the United Kingdom. The chain currently operates 608 units in Britain, and executives expect that number to eventually jump to 1,500. Lidl is spending 220 million pounds on new stores and warehouses this year alone.

• Westfield boosts stake in Westfield MilanThe Wall Street Journal Westfield has increased its ownership stake of a mall under development in the Milan area from 50 percent to 75 percent. The overall project is valued at 1.4 billion euros [$1.84 billion]. Construction on the 1.8 million-square-foot Westfield Milan is scheduled to start either next year or in 2015.

• Major retail project planned in SwedenBdaily Business News Manchester, U.K.-based architecture firm BDP is envisioning a major multi-use project in Gothenburg, Sweden, that will include 100,000 square metres of retail among other commercial real estate property types. If its plan is approved, construction could begin in 2016 on the scheme, which sits on a large area of unused dockland.

• Mall of Berlin gets €450M finance facility Investment & Pensions Europe Pension fund Bayerische Versorgungskammer is providing a 450 million-euro finance facility as part of a consortium for the 80,000-square-metre Mall of Berlin, in Leipziger Platz, which is scheduled to open in September. Other entities involved include Deutsche Hypo and BNP Paribas Real Estate.

• Development booming in Central, Eastern EuropeProperty Magazine International Retail development is on the rise in cities in Central and Eastern Europe. In the first half of the year, 376,400 square metres was added to the region and another 2.3 million square metres is under construction, according to Colliers International. Eleven percent of the new activity is in Bratislava, Slovakia; Bucharest; and Tallinn, Estonia.

• U.K. retail optimism soars Reuters Retailers' optimism about their performance in the next three months hit a 12-year high, according to a survey performed by the Confederation of British Industry. The CBI's survey also reflected some healthy sales numbers.

• Spain's household spending shoots upBloomberg Household spending in Spain increased in August as consumer prices fell 0.5 percent from the same period a year ago. Carrefour saw its first-half profits rise, in large part due to Spain's economic climate; Spain is its third-largest market. However, Spain has high unemployment, and economists are worried about deflation there.

• UK retailers weigh changing Sunday hoursMid Devon Gazette Large retailers with operations in Britain have differing views on extending Sunday business beyond the six hours now allowed. While Asda and Morrisons would like to repeal the 1994 Sunday Trading Act, which impacts stores in England and Wales, Tesco and Sainsbury's are fine with the current arrangement.

• French retailer Lick looks to grow internationally Financial Times Lick, a France-based retailer that sells quirky interactive electronics mainly in malls around Paris, plans to head outside its home country. Founder Stephane Bohbot is looking to open company owned stores next year in Hong Kong, the United States or the United Kingdom.

• Aldi, Lidl to expand in ScotlandDaily Record Discounters Aldi and Lidl are expanding to the suburbs in Scotland in order to reach consumers with high incomes. The two Germany-based chains are opening 12 stores between them. At least three Lidls are on tap for the Edinburgh area within the next year, and Aldi is planning units in Ayr, Inverness and Perth.

• Sweden's same-store sales drop in July RTTNews Sweden's retail sales fell 0.7 percent year-over-year in July after a 0.4 year-on-year increase in June. Economists predicted that July would bring identical results to the preceding month. During the quarter that ended in July, sales were down 0.2 percent year-over-year.

• Atak's Moscow expansion challengedThe Moscow Times Auchan-owned supermarket chain Atak, which has quickly expanded in Moscow, could go to court to challenge Russia's Anti-Monopoly Service, which says that retailers with a market share of 25 percent in a particular category can't further expand. Atak has planned a total of 200 stores in Russia by next year's end.

• Russia's largest toy store opensThe Moscow Times Detsky Mir opened a flagship in Moscow, making it the largest toy store in the nation. The company plans to open an additional 50 outlets in Russia this year, bringing its total portfolio to about 300 units, giving it a 10 percent market share in the toy sector.

• Grafton's retail results improveIrish Independent Ireland-based home-improvement firm Grafton posted a favourable financial period during the first six months of its fiscal year, including a boost by its retail arm. Grafton, which runs the Woodies and Atlantic Homecare chains, among others, saw retail operating profit double year over year, to £400,000 [$662,804].

• Italy's June sales take a hitRTTNews Retail sales in Italy fell 2.6 percent year over year in June, according to the ISTAT statistics office. Economists had only predicted a 0.6 percent drop. Non-food sales during the month fell 2.8 percent, while food revenues declined 2.4 percent. Sales for the first six months of the year dipped one percent compared to 2013's first half.

• White Wind Digital files for bankruptcy The Moscow Times White Wind Digital, an electronics chain with 149 stores across Russia, filed for bankruptcy after amassing seven billion rubles [$191 million] in debt. Initially based in Moscow, White Wind started expanding to other cities in Russia in 2005. The company owes vendors of Apple and Sony products.

• Ireland centre on market for €4MIrish Independent A shopping centre in Carlow, Ireland, is on the market with a four-million-euro [$5.3-million] asking price. The 27,200-square-foot Sandhill Shopping Centre is anchored by Super Valu and has nine other necessity retailers. Colliers International is marketing the asset. Centres outside Dublin are gaining investor attention of late.


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