There aren't many retailers in the nice position of being able to sell a £605 million property portfolio but still own the bulk of their freeholds.
But Tesco's deals last week only represented 2.4 per cent of its store portfolio. This shows yet again that judicious sales of stores and warehouses can free up capital without leaving retailers unduly exposed to the whims of the property market.
What surprised me about the deals was the yield Tesco managed to achieve. The retailer sold the properties at yields as low as 4.88 per cent, which is a remarkable result at a time when the general perception is that the property investment market is on its knees.
Traditionally, yields this low have been the preserve of highly leveraged private investors, but the reluctance of the banks to lend has ruled them out of the market. All four purchasers involved in the latest Tesco deals were institutional investors, which in the past have been reluctant to pay such steamy prices.
However, in these uncertain economic times, investment is all about finding safe havens and supermarkets let to strong covenants like Tesco – or any of the other big supermarket chains, for that matter – are about as secure as investments get. Pension funds want to know they are buying properties where the tenants aren't going to go bust next week, and that's what they get with supermarkets.
So, while the investment market as a whole may be on pause, the supermarkets may actually be the best placed sellers in the market. They have plenty to sell potentially – the question, as ever, is how much control over their portfolios they will want to give away.