Retail Property - Rubicon Retail kickstarts hunt for raft of new stores

Rubicon Retail has launched a charm offensive to secure the new stores needed to fulfil its expansion plans.

The retailer, which controls Warehouse, Principles and Hawkshead, has significantly upped the pace of expansion since completing its£35 million MBO from Arcadia at the end of August.

Assigning properties to Rubicon dragged out the MBO deal for over a year.

During this period, seven new shops were acquired. A further nine are under offer. Rubicon Retail chief executive Peter Davies said: 'Agents have now been appointed across the UK to look after our interests.'

Over the next four years, Rubicon has set acquisition targets of 10 new Warehouse stores, 40 Principles stores and 20 to 30 Hawkshead shops. In addition, Principles also has a flagship store requirement for central London. Warehouse trades from 73 standalone stores, Principles 60 stores and Hawkshead 16 stores. Rubicon also operates more than 250 concessions.

Davies said: 'In property terms, we are looking for profitable space. The key for us is to take the right shops.'

Landlords seem little concerned over the strength of Rubicon's covenant, although it had 'no track record'. Davies said: 'It's a new company, but it has established brands.'

Property director Richard Sims and property manager Mark Woodruff are leading Rubicon's search for new stores.

Sims, who prior to Rubicon was with Arcadia for 15 years, was in charge of the fashion retailer's design and development team during the BrandMAX programme.

Cushman & Wakefield Healey & Baker has been appointed to manage Rubicon Retail's property portfolio.