DWF advises NewRiver Retail Limited on acquisition of the Sands Portfolio

National legal business DWF advised NewRiver Retail Limited on its acquisition of the Sands Portfolio for £19 million, providing them with a net initial yield of 9.75%.

The DWF team, led by real estate senior associate Luke Hopkins, advised NewRiver on the significant investment, which will help their client achieve their strategic plans to invest in convenience led community shopping centres and high street retail assets.

NewRiver Retail is a specialist AIM listed REIT focused on the UK food and value retail market and has quickly become the leading value-creating retail property investment platform in the sector.

The Sands Portfolio includes the Arndale Shopping Centre in Morecambe and five UK High Street assets, and was purchased by NewRiver with existing cash resources. The portfolio comprises 141,000 sq ft and benefits from a high occupancy of 95%.

The assets were last traded individually between 2005 and 2007 for a total of £40 million. However, NewRiver acquired them for £19 million as a result of a distressed debt situation.

NewRiver’s strategy focusses on investing in convenience led community shopping centres and high street retail assets, which provide a stable income and the opportunity to create significant value. It has identified a number of asset management opportunities across the Sands Portfolio to enhance value through refurbishment, re-branding and improvement to the retailer mix.

Luke Hopkins, the senior associate who led the team at DWF on the acquisition, said:

“We were delighted to support NewRiver in its ambitious growth plans with this major acquisition. The team worked well with both the client and the client’s other professional advisors to ensure that the transaction concluded efficiently and within the required timeframe.”

Allan Lockhart, Property Director at NewRiver Retail, said:

“Following another highly active year for NewRiver, we are pleased to continue to deliver on our careful stock selection and active acquisition strategy by acquiring the Arndale Shopping Centre in Morecambe and five nationally located High Street assets at an attractive price reflecting a NIY of 9.75%.”

“The Arndale Shopping Centre offers excellent value-enhancing opportunities having been impaired by a lack of investment for a number of years owing to the financial position of the previous owner. We are committed to improving the shopping centre with our plans to invest fresh capital and work closely with Lancaster City Council. We have identified a number of active asset management initiatives, including attracting new occupiers for an improved retail mix, a centre rebrand and refurbishment, together with improvements to the adjoining public realm, all of which will drive increased footfall and dwell time.”

Luke Hopkins


I act for a range of UK and international clients in a number of business sectors, particularly retail, banking, healthcare and the public sector.