Former BHS store is a landmark in Manchester's prime retail core Photography by N Chadwick and licensed for reuse

Intu and M&G plot future of BHS store

Intu and joint venture partner M&G Real Estate have acquired the long leasehold on the former BHS store within the Manchester Arndale shopping centre, and are “working up options” for the 110,000 sq ft unit.

The acquisition was announced within shopping centre group Intu’s quarterly results released this morning, which showed footfall was up across its centres in the UK by 1.2%.

The 1.4m sq ft Manchester Arndale is jointly owned by Intu and M&G. The large BHS unit on the corner of Market Street and High Street had remained out of the landlords’ control until the department store went into administration earlier this year.

Intu had 10 BHS stores within its portfolio, amounting to 1% of its overall rent roll.

The statement to the stock market said that Intu had “acquired the long leasehold of the unit at Manchester Arndale which provides a strategic addition to our JV holding”. According to Kannika Mall, asset manager for M&G, the joint venture is now considering whether to let the store as a whole, or split into smaller shops. The unit is expected to remain in retail use.

Manchester Arndale is one of Europe’s largest inner city shopping centres. Earlier this year Intu and M&G announced plans to rework several units to create an £11m food court in the centre, known as Halle Place.

Intu’s quarterly results said that occupancy across its portfolio is 95.6%, a reduction of 0.6% against June 2016 which was at 96.1%. New lettings in the year “have more than offset the 1% impact from the closure of BHS”.

David Fischel, Intu chief executive, said: “We continue to demonstrate the attractiveness of our top quality prime shopping centres to shoppers, to retailers and to global investors, with increased footfall, good progress on lettings and rent reviews and the disposal of Intu Bromley at a consideration above June 2016 market value. The business has a pipeline of attractive organic investment opportunities in both the UK and Spain which will enhance Intu’s long-term growth potential.”

Shares in Intu were down 3.3p this morning to 288p.

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Let’s hope they improve the exterior of the unit, which has been an eyesore for years!

By David

John Lewis?

By Anonymous

Is that big enough for a John Lewis?

By Elephant

Its too posh to be a John Lewis

By Justsayin

My prediction: there will be minimal investment sufficient to get the thing re-let and Cllr Pat Karney will declare the news as the best thing since sliced bread and The Arndale Centre one of the top shopping centres in the world.

Meanwhile the underlying flaws of the building; the lack of permeability, the size, the internal arrangement and atmosphere, the external appearance and the negative impacts on the appeal and functioning of the wider retail core will go unaddressed.

By World Class Karney

We live in hope for a John Lewis, but will settle for a reclad..IS the worst corner in Manchester..Vile!! I think Renaissance site would be good for JL, as near Harvey Nicks,Kendals & Selfridges.

By Schwyz

If they demolished it including Aldi, Holland and Barrett, Jessops and the newsagents, the footprint would definitely be big enough for John Lewis. Here’s hoping

By David

John Lewis revealed in their latest trading update that on-line orders now account for over 50% of sales and that the focus would be now be away from large new department stores. Unfortunately, Manchester has probably missed the boat on this one, and I would expect this unit to be divided like the old Littlewoods next door.

By Mike

Well that seems strange as they have opened two new stores in the last two months in Leeds and Essex. I’m going to email them!

By David

Here’s an extract from their website…..With John Lewis celebrating over 150 years on Britain’s high streets, and the UK’s largest department store group, we continue to open new branches to meet our customers needs. Whether it be a large department store in a city centre, a smaller At Home branch out of town, or even within an airport or train station, John Lewis is constantly finding new opportunities to bring our services to our customers. As a company, we are always striving to inspire our customers with exciting product, award winning store design and outstanding customer service; all of which are at the heart of our new branches.

By David

Well here’s the response I got from John Lewis. Disappointing.

Dear David,

Thank you for your recent enquiry which has been passed to me as I am responsible for the development strategy of John Lewis department stores. I am pleased to read that you feel a John Lewis shop would be an asset for Manchester city centre.

We aim to build shops that are distinctive, outstanding in the offer they carry and which serve whole regions where there are a large numbers of shoppers. In addition to that, we want the very best sites in terms of overall location, including car parking facilities and access by both car and public transport as well as finding a large enough site on which to fit the shop. Such locations are rare, although we do of course keep our eyes open for suitable opportunities in your area. The sites within Manchester all require significant investment to bring them to the required size and configuration for us.

We also currently have John Lewis shops in both Trafford and Cheadle therefore we do not have any immediate plans to open a store in Manchester city centre and although I know this will be disappointing news for you, I hope you understand our reasons.

Yours sincerely

Tim Harrison

Store Development, Commercial
Tim Harrison – Director, Store Development

By David