Frasers Group backs physical retail, buys another retail park
Frasers Group is on a mission to resurrect physical retail. Not content with just opening stores, the lifestyle/fashion group has now bought a second retail park. And it may not be the last.
The group said the purchase of Robin Retail Park in Wigan shows its commitment to “elevating bricks and mortar retail” and plans to transform the park into "a modern, aspirational shopping destination”. Last October, the group also purchased Berryden Retail Park in Aberdeen.
It said it sees this latest acquisition as another “stepping stone” to more property acquisitions throughout 2021 within the UK and Ireland.
Frasers, whose basket of brands includes Sports Direct, Flannels, House of Fraser, Jack Wills, and Evans Cycles, has promised to "breathe new life" into the 96,163 sq ft retail park.
It already features a Sports Direct store alongside an anchor Next store. Other units include a JD Gym, Pizza Hut, Frankie & Benny’s, Buzz Bingo, and an 11-screen Empire cinema.
Compellingly, the park is adjacent to the 25,000-capacity DW Stadium – home to Wigan Athletic and Wigan Warriors, the respective football and rugby league clubs that use the stadium on alternate weekends. It also comes with 999 free car park spaces.
According to Frasers, it took just nine working days to complete the Robin Retail Park purchase from Otium Real Estate for an undisclosed sum. Otium had only owned the park for a year after paying around £12 million for the centre.
Head of elevation for Frasers Group, Michael Murray, said: “We plan to transform this retail park into a modern, aspirational shopping destination for the local area”.
In the toughest of years for physical retail, retail parks have proved to be more resilient than high streets and enclosed shopping centres, due to their open-air status making consumers feel safer during the pandemic.
Although it will remain to be seen if they can maintain that pull after 12 April when non-essential retail reopens, Frasers’ ambitions to transform the park will be key in the upcoming battle for footfall.
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