Crown Es­tate mulls move to ware­hous­ing

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Rhi­an­non Curry

RE­TAIL­ERS could soon be ship­ping goods from ware­houses owned by the Queen as the Crown Es­tate con­sid­ers ex­pand­ing its in­vest­ment in in­dus­trial prop­erty to cap­i­talise on boom­ing de­mand from on­line sell­ers.

The com­pany said it had not ruled out adding more ware­hous­ing to its port­fo­lio as it seeks to cush­ion it­self from the im­pact of high street tur­moil.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Ali­son Nimmo said the Crown Es­tate, which man­ages prop­erty and land owned by the Queen, had ben­e­fited from its prime shop­ping desti­na­tions last year but that it had not been immune from store clo­sures. Around 40pc of the com­pany’s port­fo­lio is re­tail prop­erty, while the re­main­der cov­ers of­fices, in­fra­struc­ture and land in­clud­ing Wind­sor Great Park.

High street names in­clud­ing House of Fraser and New Look have an­nounced plans to close shops in re­cent weeks, hit­ting land­lords who have been faced with the prospect of empty stores. A num­ber of land­lords have ex­pressed con­cern that the process used to re­duce store port­fo­lios, com­pany vol­un­tary ar­range­ments, is be­ing mis­used.

Paul Clark, chief in­vest­ment of­fi­cer for the Crown Es­tate, said while the com­pany would not be tak­ing le­gal ac­tion against any re­tail­ers us­ing CVAs, it sup­ported the po­si­tion taken by the Bri­tish Prop­erty Fed­er­a­tion for a fairer sys­tem for prop­erty own­ers.

Ms Nimmo said that de­spite a “rel­a­tively tough year” op­er­at­ing in a “chal­leng­ing and un­cer­tain mar­ket” the com­pany had still man­aged to hand back al­most £330m to the Trea­sury in 2017, 4pc more than in the pre­vi­ous year. That brings the com­pany’s con­tri­bu­tion to the pub­lic purse to £2.7bn over the last decade.

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