Shropshire Star

Telford town centre retail park sold as part of £400m deal

The Forge Retail Park in Telford has been sold as part of a £400 million deal which bundles together seven estates around the country.

The Forge Retail Park in Telford

The town centre shopping site, one of the county's biggest, is home to the likes of Sainsbury's, Next, Laura Ashley, and bargain chain B&M.

It has now been offloaded by its owner, stock exchange-listed real estate investor Hammerson, along with six others around the UK.

They have been acquired by investment fund Orion European Real Estate Fund V, part of Orion Capital Managers group which also has a stake in Telford Shopping Centre.

In total, Hammerson has sold 14 retail parks since July 2018 as it attempts to quit the retail park sector to focus on shopping centres, generating £764m in the process to cut the group’s debts.

The company, which also owns Birmingham's Bullring Shopping Centre, bought the Forge Retail Park in 2012 as part of a £254.5 million deal.

It previously also owned the Wrekin Retail Park, home of Tesco and Sports Direct, but that was offloaded as part of its effort to leave the retail park sector in July last year. That deal was worth £35 million.

David Atkins, Hammerson’s chief executive, said: “Against a challenged retail and investment backdrop we have exited the retail parks sector.

"Having achieved disposals of close to £1bn since the beginning of 2019, our focus remains on strengthening our balance sheet to create further resilience.

"The completion of this strategic disposal enables us to create a more concentrated portfolio of flagship venues, premium outlets and City Quarters which we expect will deliver greater levels of both income stability and growth over the medium term.”

The other centres to have been sold as part of the deal include sites in Falkirk in Scotland, Rugby, Middlesbrough, St Helens, Didcot and Merthyr Tydfil.

The sites represent 205,000sq m of shopping space, and bring in £36 million a year of rental income for their owners.