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Shoppers on Old Bond Street in London. The coronavirus pandemic has left retailers struggling to pay rents as fewer customers visited stores, stoking some major high street names such as John Lewis and Debenhams to shut stores. Image Credit: Bloomberg

London: Trafford Centre, one of Britain's major shopping centres, is being put up for sale, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters late Tuesday, in less than two months after its parent company Intu Properties collapsed into administration.

The coronavirus pandemic has left retailers struggling to pay rents as fewer customers visited stores, stoking some major high street names such as John Lewis and Debenhams to shut stores.

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Intu, which owns 17 major shopping centres including Lakeside in Essex, is home to hundreds of well-known retailers and normally get millions of visitors a year, but was hammered by the health crisis as it hit both footfall and rents.

Manchester's Trafford Centre was last valued publicly by Intu at close to 1.7 billion pounds ($2.22 billion), but analysts expect it to be sold for at least 20% lower - if a buyer can be found at an attractive price, according to Sky News, which first reported https://bit.ly/3iybZ4x the news of the sale process.

"All parties are working constructively together to maximise value for this highly attractive asset," a spokesperson for the joint administrators of Intu Properties said in a statement.

The appointment of advisers to kick off a formal sale process is expected to attract the interest of John Whittaker, the property tycoon who sold the Trafford Centre to Intu in 2011, Sky News said.

Investment bank PJT Partners and property research firm CBRE have been appointed to advise on the sale process, the source said.