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Could Norwich's Chapelfield mall be sold?

PUBLISHED: 17:03 11 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:03 11 September 2019

Could Chapelfield mall in Norwich be sold? Picture: Neil Didsbury

Could Chapelfield mall in Norwich be sold? Picture: Neil Didsbury

Archant

The face of the high street may be set to change again after it was revealed the Chapelfield shopping centre may be bought out.

Reports have emerged that Intu, the owner of the, is "exploring a deal" to sell.

The proposal has come from European private equity group Orion Capital Managers.

The group already has experience working with distressed retail assets having bought a number of Spanish shopping centres during the financial crisis and selling them at a profit when the market recovered.

MORE: Norwich entrepreneur wins Dragons' Den investment after getting offers from all five moguls

The news saw Intu shares leap by 20% at the start of the week lifting its value to £546m.

Chapelfield has been approached for comment.

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However whether Intu's value will turn around as their European counterparts did remains to be seen.

Analysts have said that this is due to chains issuing company voluntary agreements (CVAs) to landlords - which allows the business to shed sites that are no longer profitable.

The most recent example is the Arcadia group - which owns Topshop, Topman, and Dorothy Perkins to name a few - which was successful in pushing through 48 CVAs in June.

However where Intu's handover may be influenced by a need to clear its £1bn debt, independently-owned Castle Mall is leaning into investment.

It was revealed in July that Norwich's other mall would be renamed the Castle Quarter, so to better reflect a more experiential destination.

Robert Bradley, Castle Mall's general manager, said: "This is just the beginning and part of the changes coming include some new signage and a new look which we're looking forward to revealing later on this year. There are lots of reasons to visit Castle Mall - and there will be even more soon."

The mall has so far been successful in expanding its offering having invested £3m into dining at the Timberhill Terrace as well as securing new leisure tenants.

These include a £2m Superbowl which will open soon and a £1.5m investment into a new PureGym site which opened this summer.

Only this week it also announced the opening of a new arcade and video game shop Retro Replay.

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