Frasers Group (owned by Sports Direct International plc) have acquired the anchor building – previously occupied by Debenhams – at Foyleside Shopping centre in Londonderry.
The off-market deal, handled by property advisor, Savills, will see the opening of a new Frasers department store at the centre next year – similar to its anchor store at Victoria Square in Belfast.
Paul Wilson, Director of Retail at Savills who brokered the commented: “We were aware of the necessity for Debenhams to adapt and change its in-store offer to meet changing consumer demands and in the case of Folyeside, this was likely to require a store downsize and lease re-structure.
“As retained consultants and leasing agents to the landlord of Foyleside, we were very aware of the risk associated with the Debenhams covenant and likely capital expenditure required to reconfigure the store and re-purpose the surplus space which would have been created.
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“Knowing the limited pool of end users for this space and that Debenhams business was likely to enter a CVA, we pursed Frasers and successfully struck a deal to sell the freehold interest.
“The Debenhams CVA gave Frasers the ability to secure vacant possession from a landlord break clause, but a liquidation will speed the process.”
“Bringing Frasers to Foyleside is a massive positive for the centre and the city as a whole. Employing some 200 staff, this will replace the Debenhams with a new relevant retail offering to the centre together with a huge investment to refit the property which we hope will include the stores aspirational Flannels fashion hall.”
Fergal Rafferty Centre Manager added: “Foyleside welcomes Department store Frasers as the latest addition to its Tenant mix.
“In what has been a difficult trading environment in 2020, this significant investment will enhance the city centre retail offer as a whole and will reinforce Foyleside as the top regional shopping destination in the North West.
“Debenhams will continue to trade through the Christmas period in conjunction with the fifty other stores in the centre, with late night shopping until 11pm commencing December 11 with a busy Christmas period anticipated.”
Foyleside is one of the largest retail destinations in Northern Ireland, comprising 370,000 sq. ft. of space with over 51 shops, cafes and restaurants including, Dunnes, M&S, H&M, Boots, Clarks, Next and River Island to name a few.
Reacting to the news President of the Londonderry Chamber, Dawn McLaughlin said: “This news today is fantastic for our city. Debenhams had long been a key anchor tenant at Foyleside and a big attraction for shoppers coming to our region. To hear that Frasers Group have bought this building and will open a new Frasers department store in Derry is wonderful news and great to hear just before Christmas.
“The addition of Frasers will fill a site that is at the heart of our shopping district and will greatly help rejuvenate our city centre and add to an already strong retail offering here in the city.
“Derry and the North West have proven time and again that it is a prime location to invest in. It has become a cultural, tourism and business hub for the wider North West region, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. We are thrilled that the addition of a Frasers store in the city will only increase our attractiveness as a place to visit and a place to invest in.”
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