Retail park sold to make way for online retail warehouse marking symbolic shift

Ben StevensIndustry News

A failing retail park has been sold for over £50 million to make way for online retail warehouse space laying bare the dramatic changes in the industry.

M&G’s 128,000sq ft Ravenside retail park in North London was purchased by warehouse giant Prologis for £51.4 million before Christmas.

This came a month after M&G, which owns numerous retail parks across the UK, announced it would suspend the dealing of shares in its £2.5 billion property portfolio fund which has been battered by the retail storm affecting the high street.

Conversely online retailers like Amazon have been booming, buying up warehouse space across the country to expand their distribution networks in order to get items to customers more quickly.

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“The UK retail market is changing, as more and more people order goods online,” Prologis’ head of capital deployment Robin Woodbridge said.

“Because of this, our customers, who include household retail names such as Amazon, Argos and John Lewis, need logistics facilities close to where people live and work, so they can fulfil deliveries of goods ordered online efficiently.”

Mothercare, which entered administration in November, Carpetright, Wickes, and Argos were among the tenants at the retail park.

Many have raised concerns about the disparity between tax bills on traditional retail sites like Ravenside and fulfilment centres.

Sites which sell directly to consumers such as high street and retail parks are required to pay far higher business rates than warehouses which simply store and organise goods for delivery, giving yet another advantage to online retailers already piling pressure on the high street.

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