idlewells 1.4

Idlewells Shopping Centre, Sutton-in-Ashfield

Overview of property

Idlewells Shopping Centre is a 150,000 square foot covered retail scheme occupying most of Sutton-in-Ashfield’s town centre and was purchased by Helical plc in 2011. Prior to purchase Ashdown Phillips assisted the client with due diligence and provided consultation for the acquisition. The centre has over 45 individual retail units and is almost fully let. There is also a lively indoor market with over 60 stalls, which attracts high footfall to the centre.

Ashdown Phillips' main objectives

  • Review the service charge to rebalance spend without compromising services
  • Rebrand the centre to position it as a more effective community hub

How we achieved it

Rebalancing the service charge

Ashdown Phillips provided due diligence and consultancy prior to purchase and quickly identified key areas for improvement. The service charge was reviewed, and each area of spend was evaluated and reallocated to balance the services offered. In Year 1, service charge was reduced by almost 7% without compromising service levels, efficiency was also improved and waste decreased.

In Year 2, a number of key contracts were retendered and further savings were achieved for tenants, which allowed key renovation works to be brought forward at the centre.

A community-based shopping centre

Idlewells Shopping Centre is literally the centre of retail in Sutton-in-Ashfield and has very strong links within the local community. Ashdown Phillips built on this, rebranding the centre to emphasise that it’s a local community-based centre. There are vibrant events, competitions and an active website and social media programme.

Taking this further

Ashdown Phillips works as a cohesive team at a centre and surveying level, which means we are able to provide a bespoke management service for our clients. When a retailer at the centre went into liquidation in 2012 resulting in the closure of the store and the loss of multiple jobs, we worked together to find a solution.  Building on our excellent relationship with retailers, we saw an opportunity for one of the former staff to take over the shop as her own business.

Paula had never run her own business before so we worked extremely closely with her to offer support and advice on financial and legal aspects of a new lease. The team talked Paula through the practicalities of occupying a business unit to ensure she had all the necessary information to move forward confidently.

Paula successfully opened Lily's Cards in 2012 and is one of the most popular retailers at the centre.

In 2014 Ashdown Phillips introduced two new retailers to the scheme – Cake Fusion and The Sweet Explosion, who both moved out of the local authority operated Indoor Market and into their own shop units within Idlewells. In acknowledgement of the big step being taken by any business making such a move, agreement was reached with both businesses that would allow their operating costs to increase steadily in order to facilitate their steady growth.  Both businesses continue to trade within the shopping centre, and have added something new, unique and exciting to the tenant mix.

In November 2014 Idlewells Shopping Centre was purchased by Ellandi, and since that time new retailers Poundworld, Blue Inc, Carphone Warehouse and Westcoast have been welcomed. Ashdown Phillips have retained the management of the property and are working closely with Ellandi on a number of management initiatives.

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Idlewells: a wide range of retailers and community based events and promotions