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Ken Houston: cheque centres and charity shops

Ken HoustonSome of the retail letting deals that have taken place recently seem to reflect the modern face of a ‘High Street’ feeling the effects of competition from edge of town shopping, internet sales and tight household budgets.

Union Street in Aberdeen was once characterised by impressive department stores, nationally-branded convenience outlets and specialist private retailers catering for a variety of budgets.

However, the latest letting, at number 125 Union Street (located in the former central pitch), has gone to the charity sector and no matter how admirable the work of the tenant, Cancer Research UK, is symptomatic of the falling commercial fortunes of this once thriving shopping thoroughfare.

The unit, comprising 1,523 sq ft of ground floor sales space and 1,635 sq ft of additional sales space and has been let for 10 years at a rental of £82,250 per annum.

The landlord, Abbas Lakha QC, was represented by Eric Young & Co (Eyco).

The changing face of retail means many town centres now have more bookies than book shops which is no doubt why LaSalle Investment Management has agreed a lease extension of Unit 48, Teviot Walk, Cumbernauld to Ladbrokes Racing.

The unit, comprising 837 sq ft of ground floor sales space has been let for 15 years at a rental of £27,500 per annum. LaSalle Investment Management was represented jointly by BNP Paribas Real Estate and Eyco..

Meanwhile LaSalle Investment Management has assigned the lease at 24 Teviot Walk to another recent phenomenon of town centre retail, Cheque Centres. The 534 sq ft, ground floor unit has been assigned for seven years at a rental of £20,000 per annum.

Cheque Centres Ltd was represented by Axcess Europe and LaSalle Investment Management was represented jointly by Eyco and BNP Paribas Real

However, George Street in Edinburgh continues to buck the trend experienced by other city and town centre retail thoroughfares. Although George Street has unique advantages (Edinburgh being a capital city, relatively affluent and a major tourist centre), it contrasts sharply with the ‘sameness’ of the malls (whether in or out of town) and surely shows that offering something outside the box can still stack up commercially.

The most recent letting (of No 40) was to the unisex beauty salon, Peaches ‘n’ Cream. The unit, comprising 369 sq ft of basement space has been let for five years at a rental of £22,500 per annum.

On the face of it (if you’ll forgive the pun), this seems like a smart move, given the fact that George Street is already home to a myriad of boutiques catering for a young and moneyed. After all, why spend a small fortune on the best new clobber and then skimp on the personal grooming?

Landlord LaSalle Investment Management was represented jointly by Eyco and Jones Lang LaSalle.

Want to see your deals (both letting and investment) in Daily Business? If so please send details to: kh@kenhoustonmedia.com

Twitter: @PropPRMan

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