Ellandi’s Summer of Love – The transparent line between love & hate

Posted by Ellandi on 8th Jul 2015
On Thursday 2nd July, Ellandi hosted it’s 4th annual Retail Rocks Conference at the Geological Society titled “Summer of Love – It’s a thin line between love & hate”.  The conference, which has quickly become seen as the leading shopping centre property conference, was well attended by approximately 150 senior industry participants. 

As always, the afternoon began with opening comments by Managing Director Morgan Garfield and Property Director Mark Robinson, who together founded the business seven years ago.  Morgan explained how the market has improved over the last 4 years and how Ellandi had grown to meet these challenges, followed by Mark, who discussed Ellandi’s achievements in the last year including the opening of the very first Pep & Co store at the Ellandi owned Newlands Shopping Centre the previous day. 

Panel One: “Landlord & Tenant Relationships – Why can’t we get on better?” 

The panel consisted of Andy Bond (Pep & Co), Andy Garbutt (Poundland), Mark Bourgeois (Capital & Regional), Allan Lockhart (NewRiver Retail) and was facilitated by Nicola Harrison (Retail Week).

 The session discussed a number of the challenges that affect the relationship including the perception from tenants that landlords were being unrealistic about the value of their property and the nationwide disparity around rates. Allan Lockhart pointed out that whilst the landlord and tenant relationship post-recession appears to have improved due to shorter lease terms, there are still a number of issues.

To this Mark Bourgeois commented “the Landlord & Tenant Act of 1954 is a good starting point to improve dialogue between the parties, however it feels strange that the 1954 act is still being used when shorter leases are the norm” and went on to comment that the Act should be abolished rather than simply modernised. 

Andy Bond spoke of his recent negotiations on his 50 stores in 50 days campaign and highlighted that “landlords have been hugely responsive to the changing nature of retail”. Lockhart added that retailers and occupiers will have to work closer together whilst Bourgeois stated that landlords will have to become even more flexible. 

The discussion quickly turned to the lack of transparency regarding sharing of information between landlords and tenants in the UK when compared to various parts of the continent. Andy Garbutt suggested that transparency is great in theory, but in reality retailers worry about how this would affect them at the point of renewal. Garbutt went on to suggest that perhaps landlords should be using a third party to collate sales data from retailers and aggregate it to provide an overall figure. Bond agreed that data would be helpful for tenants as well as landlords and therefore Pep & Co would be happy to share figures as necessary. 

Key Note Speaker: What can the UK Shopping Centre Market learn from best practice abroad? 

Mark Owen of Resolution Property took to the stage and compared the differences across the continent from the 3,6,9 and 3,6,10 lease models in France which allows a larger degree of flexibility for the retailer and often automatic renewal in the 10th year, to the 5+5 lease structure in Poland which involves little negotiation leading to shorter void periods with index-linked rents and no zone A rent.

Owen concluded that lease structures are volatile and changing and that closer relationships between retailers and landlords, sharing turnover data and footfall continues to be the best way forward. 

Panel 2: “Will a continental model of ownership damage shopping centre investor values?"  

The last panel session consisted of Gabrielle Berring (Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking), Andrew Haines (Chenavari Investment Partners), Cameron Spry (Tristan Capital Partners) and Anuj Mittal (Angelo Gordon) and was facilitated by James Wallace (CoStar News). 

The session centred around the fact that many challenges facing landlords across the UK and the rest of Europe are similar however because European shopping centres typically have smaller units, retailers in the continent have more power than historically so. 

When questioned about how the continental model differs from the UK model, Anuj Mittal took the discussion back to transparency saying that “there is better transparency regarding the credit of the tenant on the continent”.


As the discussion drew to a close, Gabrielle Berring pointed out that transparency, both in terms of relationships with retailers and landlords, is often down to how good the asset manager is. 

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