Cambridge University Address – talking Retail Real Estate

In December 2020 Portus Retail founder, Peter Todd, addressed Cambridge University MST Real Estate students to share some expert knowledge on the industry.

Here are some of the predictions for 2021 Retail Real Estate that Peter shared:


Trading through a global pandemic

  • Managing expectations throughout a global pandemic is key alongside this, being proactive, communicating clearly and making decisions early will allow for successful trading structure.
  • Working with tenants on trading hours, strategy, flexible rental terms and leasing to retain the highest possible level of occupancy.
  • Have a clear operating strategy and marketing plan which includes opening times, health and safety measures and social distancing guidelines. Continual communication and matching customer experience of environment and safety to message need to be part of this strategy.


2021 retail trends

  • In the short-term there will be a reduced dwell time as shopping will become less of a social activity.
  • Customers will have an increased awareness of the physical shopping environment and are seeking space, natural light and ventilation and a sense of a safe environment.
  • Retail centres and stores must offer both destination options and convenience options to meet consumer demands.
  • Click & Collect will become more prominent.
  • The pandemic will accelerate change in the retail landscape as consumers have become used to a new shopping experience some established brands fail and new ones emerge.


Implications for retail real estate:

  • The pace of change will accelerate, retail landlords will need to be creative and find alternative uses (leisure, offices, community use, residential, last mile logistics, etc.) for surplus floor space.
  • Whilst the specific and relative situation in retail has evolved, the fundamental principles of positioning each centre relative to the local market demand and retail hierarchy remains the paramount success factor.
  • Shop formats are evolving to accommodate new customer demands and the new retail landscape.
  • Rental and capital values are under pressure and will remain so for some time.
  • Many retail centres will fail if their owners cannot or do not reinvent them based on these accelerated changes


For further information please contact the PR team: | +44 7970 242 134

Property Management feature: Innovative examples of how companies are making buildings as safe as possible during the pandemic.

Despite Covid providing shopping centres with challenges, leisure and retail centres remain the heart and soul of the community. The moment a retail reopening date was confirmed, Portus Retails’ focus was on our property management elements and running successful centres post lockdown.  We immediately turned our attention to social media and digital marketing for one of our shopping centres, Docks Bruxsel, to publicise our strict health & safety guidelines.

Customers and tenants alike were eager to hear how the shopping centre was as safe as possible. We introduced hand sanitisation stations, opened doors and the roof to allow better air circulation and aircon switched off, security teams checking use of face masks and size of groups entering while complying with regulations, social distancing markers and queuing systems, clear signage on number of permitted customers per store to obey with regulations and social distancing. All of this combined with clear and concise messaging (including POS) regarding the importance of health and wellbeing of customers and staff, we believe aided us in getting our customers and staff back swiftly. 

Meticulous enforcing and policing of the regulations outlined in our communication were implemented including, but not limited to: split staggering teams to ensure Covid isolation bubbles, deep cleaning of any store with temporary closure if any staff developed symptoms, pedestrian flow counts and hot spots using security teams to review footfall counter and live feedback from WiFi beacons to actively manage overcrowding situations and avoid breaking social distancing guidelines. 

Overall, with careful precision, providing customers with a delicate balance of reopening excitement and education on safety, Docks Bruxsel has been very successful, achieving 99% of the footfall compared to the same period in 2019, highlighting the safe and precautionary measures put in place for Covid, customer experience has not been affected. 

For further information please contact the PR team: | +44 7970 242 134

Portus Retail are hiring

We’re now looking to add to the team. We can offer either full or part-time working, focused on our current assets and assisting with new opportunities.

Finance and Commercial Manager – Chiswick

Key responsibilities and role:

Working across our existing portfolio, to provide financial oversight and performance management of key external suppliers including the respective auditors, corporate accountants and tax advisors to each asset.

  • Assist in the preparation of periodic investor and shareholder reports, including actual vs budget analysis, forecasting and cash-flow management.
  • Provide NAV, covenant or other KPI analysis to shareholders on request.
  • Lead on the preparation of annual budgets for the respective Holding Companies and where necessary, to assist our local property managers with property-level budgeting and forecasting.
  • Manage the reporting, covenant testing and relationship management with the lending banks.
  • Constantly challenge, improve and manage the processes relating to payment of corporate and structure costs
  • Design, develop and manage a financial appraisal model that allows Portus to test the viability of asset management initiatives and potential acquisitions.
  • Assist with initial due diligence, financial underwriting and preparing investor committee presentations for new opportunities.
  • Take responsibility for key work-streams through the asset acquisition or disposal process including tax efficient corporate structuring (to be supported via external advisors per jurisdiction)
  • Liaise with nominated third party consultants, such as Valuers and Property Managers, to ensure data flow and accuracy.

About You

  • Ideally an economics/finance/investment/real estate background
  • At least 3 years post qualification experience, in either a finance or real estate environment
  • Strong academic background and appropriate accounting qualification
  • Experience with Yardi as a property management and reporting tool
  • Good understanding of financial modelling and valuation methodology (advanced excel, Microsoft Office required)
  • Ability to demonstrate some asset management or transactional experience
  • Team player, but wanting to work in a small, focused environment
  • Based in the UK (London Chiswick) but able to travel in Europe as required
  • A desire to work in a growing, Client-side business • Strong work ethic and attention to detail
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Languages desirable (French/German)

Contact Us

AIMCo, Portus Retail, Equilis and TPF announce acquisition of Docks Bruxsel

The acquisition of Brussels’ newest urban shopping centre, Docks Bruxsel, has been announced by retail property specialist, Portus Retail, and its investment partner, the Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo), on behalf of certain of its clients. The sale represents a unique opportunity for the incoming owners to enhance an already contemporary scheme to perfectly meet the multi-channel shopping needs of today’s consumer.

Portus Retail and AIMCo intend to build on the success of Docks Bruxsel’s unique shopping ‘district’ positioning. Portus Retail will act as Asset Manager to implement the strategic marketing programme and a proactive leasing campaign. The vision involves refreshing and strengthening the tenant mix and investment in the customer experience to develop a long-term, sustainable retail business.

Docks Bruxsel was developed by Equilis and TPF and opened in 2016. It is the first new shopping centre in Brussels for over 30 years and provides an entirely modern retail format designed to suit Brussels’ international and cosmopolitan population. Docks Bruxsel appeals to the modern consumer, offering fashion and lifestyle retailers, impressive leisure attractions, event space and a strong food and beverage offer, all fronted by stunning, contemporary architecture. Docks Bruxsel was awarded the best new large shopping centre development in 2018 by ICSC Europe.

Peter Todd, Founder of Portus Retail commented, “This is a really exciting opportunity for Portus Retail. Docks Bruxsel is a genuinely unique shopping destination, which already provides a relevant and fresh retail offering to Brussels and the surrounding areas. Our intention is to enhance this by creating memorable experiences for visitors and building on the existing mix of retailers, introducing attractive new brands to the scheme.”

Carl Mestdagh, Executive Chairman of Equilis Europe said, “Equilis is delighted with this transaction, which is part of the company’s development strategy in Europe. As a real estate developer, Equilis always intended to enhance the value of Docks Bruxsel and this is why we are pleased to sell to an investor with a long-term vision for this new and iconic scheme.”

Docks Bruxsel is home to a diverse range of fashion and lifestyle brands including Zara, H&M, Michael Kors, Guess, Pandora, Guess, Levis, MAC, Mango, Samsung, Superdry, Swarovski, and many more.

Portus Retail and AIMCo were advised on the transaction by Clifford Chance and CBRE; Equilis was advised by Linklaters, JLL and Cushman & Wakefield.

For more information please contact Portus Retail’s UK press office: | 01628 625 900

Portus Retail & CBRE Global Investors Acquires Prime Copenhagen Retail Asset

CBRE Global Investors has completed the acquisition of Vimmelskaftet 39-41 in Copenhagen, Denmark, on behalf of a joint venture between the CBRE Europe Value Partners fund series and Portus Retail.

The prime retail asset has over 3,070 sqm of rentable space, comprising two ground floor retail units, with restaurant and office space on the first floor. The retail and restaurant units are currently occupied by Sportmasters, Trend and Constellation Burger.

Vimmelskaftet 39 – 41 is located on Strøget, the fully pedestrianised, prime shopping street in the city centre. The asset is adjacent to a Lego store and opposite international retail brand, Zara.

Charles Baigler, Fund Manager, CBRE Global Investors’ Europe Value Partners fund series said: “This acquisition is in line with one of our key Fund strategies – to acquire and refurbish retail assets in prime shopping locations in major European cities. Due to the favourable supply and demand dynamics in Denmark and Copenhagen in particular, we expect to see strong rental growth.”

Portus Retail are proud Gold sponsors of CBRE EMEA Charity Bike Ride Basel to Lake Como

On the 3rd June over 100 CBRE employees, clients, and supporters will be undertaking the CBRE EMEA bike ride for Plan International, the global children’s charity.

Now in its eighth year, the five day cycling challenge will set off from in Basel, Switzerland and will see participant’s cycle 670km which will include taking on the leg-testing climb of Stelvio Pass, the highest mountain in the Eastern Alps and the highest climb the CBRE EMEA bike ride has ever done.  The ride will finish in Lake Como, Italy.  Participants will be using pedal power to help raise vital funds for Plan International’s, Safer Cities programme, Nairobi in Kenya.

Portus Retail appoints Gabriel Olearnik, General Counsel

Gabriel has a strong track record of deal execution and has advised on EUR 5.9 billion of European real estate deals recently, including the largest European real estate deal in 2016. He has a particular expertise in resolving difficult issues which can arise during both deal execution and the lifespan of an asset. Gabriel is also experienced in dispute resolution, crisis management and regulatory issues.

Gabriel was previously General Counsel of a major real estate fund. He holds a B.A. from University College London and an LLM from King’s College London. Gabriel has also received the Principal’s Award from King’s College, the highest distinction granted by that university.