Clearbell Capital LLP, a leading private real estate fund management business, has launched a new investment platform targeting the distribution and logistics market. There is a particular focus on meeting the ‘last mile’ challenges faced by retailers and distributers, driven by intensifying consumer demand. Clearbell plans to invest up to £125 million (approx. €156 million) with debt as it builds a nationwide portfolio of assets.
The platform launch comes as Clearbell signs its second distribution transaction within two months. Its acquisition in Peterborough earlier in the month saw Clearbell secure a pair of warehouse units with a combined size of 290,000 ft²(approx. 27,000 m²) This adds to Clearbell’s purchase of three assets in the North West last month, taking the total size of the platform to over 700,000 ft² (approx. 65,000 m²).
Owning strategically located, nimble units which are closer to the customer will help Clearbell to exploit the supply and demand imbalance as the distribution industry grapples with the ‘last mile’ of the logistics journey. At present, there is a severe lack of suitable units to support industry needs.
Changing habits in retail, particularly the rise of online sales, is driving these trends in distribution and it will only be accentuated by the UK economy’s recovery. Speed of delivery, narrower slots and flexibility in delivery formats all affect the distribution sector. From click-and-collect and parcel lockers, to local pick-up and signed-for courier services, customer needs are transforming the distribution landscape.
Nick Berry, partner at Clearbell, commented: “There is a substantial shortage of distribution and logistics units nationwide, as the industry struggles to keep up with consumer trends in retail. The ‘last mile’ of logistics is particularly difficult as customer needs are outpacing existing methods. Clearbell has the expertise and the funds to respond to this opportunity. Warehousing might not be at the sexy end of the property market, but as more and more people shop online, it’s a smart area to be investing in, up and down the UK.”