Tesco seeks to sell sites

Struggling retailer Tesco is seeking to recoup tens of millions of euros, from the sale of 25 development sites it had amassed for new stores or expansion, in 16 counties around Ireland.

The sites sell-off by Tesco, who at the start of 2015 announced a drive to cut overheads by 30%, and which included some redundancies, includes two Dublin properties, and five in Cork.

One Cork lot is 2.5 acres at the Wilton Shopping Centre and which could be worth c €1 million per acre.

The Wilton Shopping Centre itself is currently on the market as part of the retail Hazel Portfolio sale of three centres, with Wilton independently guided at €70m and earning €5m pa in income.

Tesco is co-anchor with Penneys at the Wilton centre, and Tesco owns its own Extra store there, which was retained by the supermarket giant when it sold the rest of the Cork centre in the early 2000s.

It’s understood the 2.5 acres at Wilton now separately on offer is currently used as overflow/staff car parking.

It may have an appeal to buyers other than whoever ends up buying the Wilton Shopping Centre.

Other Cork sites being disposed of include six acres by the ring road in Clonakilty in West Cork, and sites in Charleville and Fermoy.

The sale of Tesco’s assembled nationwide sites was advertised this week by selling agents DTZ, who didn’t identify Tesco as the owner but which said the 25 sites were in single ownership.

A dataroom for details of the sites has been established, and it’s likely restrictions on buyers will be in place to ensure the sites aren’t bought by rival retailers who have been eating into Tesco’s market share after the UK-based multi-national was hit by a number of recent trading blows, including an investigation into mis-reporting of profits, sliding market share and falling share values.

In the UK, DTZ have also been appointed to sell the HQ New Tesco House, with a value of c £17 million.

Tesco is reportedly closing 43 stores and has abandoned plans to build 49 other UK stores.

In Ireland, Tesco has 149 outlets, and employs over 15,000. The sale of 25 sites which it had acquired for growth is significant, representing 15% of its current Irish store total. Despite its trading difficulties, it opened a Tesco Extra store last year in Cork’s Ballincollig Town Centre.

There are ‘surplus to requirement’ Tesco sites being off-loaded in Munster counties Waterford, Tipperary and Clare.

Separately, there are two Tesco sites in Dublin, two in Donegal, and one each in counties Carlow, Laois, Wicklow, Kildare, Offaly, Westmeath, Roscommon, Louth, Cavan, Monaghan, Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim.

Agents DTZ have declined to give public details or to comment on the sites disposal by Tesco.

Details: DTZ Sherry FitzGerald 01-6399300; 021-4275454

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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