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Sheffield retail park not shutting despite store closures, owner says

Heeley Retail Park. Picture: Andrew Roe
Heeley Retail Park. Picture: Andrew Roe
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A retail park in Sheffield is not about to close despite losing half of its big stores, the owner has said.

Fashion chain Next's clearance outlet and Pets At Home have both shut while Poundworld will soon be closing its doors at Heeley Retail Park, which changed hands at the end of April for £17.2 million.

Next and Pets At Home have opened new shops elsewhere at St James Retail Park, a £35 million development on the old Norton College site that fully launched earlier this month. Poundworld is in administration and is to close by August 10.

The Heeley site was sold by a corporate pension fund to investment management firm Mayfair Capital. It comprises six main units, a Costa Coffee 'pod' and 289 parking spaces. The remaining tenants are Boots, Currys PC World and Matalan.

Mayfair confirmed the park was staying, and also dispelled local speculation that the land would be turned into housing.

"The park isn't for sale and isn't being converted into residential," a spokesman said.

Next's departure was 'expected' as the chain had 'indicated it would exercise a break option in its lease'. New occupiers are being sought for all three empty units.

Jos Seligman, transaction manager at Mayfair Capital, said earlier this year: "Discount retail warehousing in large city centres are a focus for the fund on account of market pricing, their complimentary nature to online sales and dense populations providing underlying value."

Lucy Winterburn, of Savills Investment Management which handled the sale, described the park as being 'very much a legacy asset' in its client's portfolio. "Sale proceeds will be reinvested into new speculative and pre-let development opportunities predominantly in the industrial sector, where we continue to see strong performance potential."

Poundworld is one of several retailers to call in administrators this year amid a tough trading environment, with Toys R Us and Maplin vanishing from the UK's high streets.

Mothercare, New Look and House of Fraser is also shutting shops as part of company voluntary arrangements, which give businesses a chance of survival.