Developer snaps up Derby shops to champion the rise of independent retailers

A property firm behind the ‘recreation’ of London’s Carnaby Street in an area of Nottingham is planning to do the same in Derby city centre.

Nottingham-based ALB Group has completed the acquisition of seven buildings in Derby’s Albion Street and East Street with a view to breathing new life into the struggling city centre.

The buildings - some of which have become vacant following the widely reported challenges for UK high street traders - have housed the likes of GAP Outlet, Goldsmiths jewellers, Sweet Emporium, Card Market, and EE.

The team have also purchased upper floors of 1 Albion Street, which they are going to convert to apartments.

Now, as part of a drive to refresh East Midlands high streets and make them “cooler” destinations, ALB is planning to offer shorter, more flexible leases and lower rents in order to attract a new generation of independent retailer, and those within the hospitality and leisure sectors.

The developer, which also owns the building formerly occupied by the Burton menswear store in Derby’s Victoria Street, which has an exciting tenant lined up to be disclosed at a later date, has already begun a similar transformation in Nottingham’s Bridlesmith Gate and Lister Gate, where it has to date snapped up a dozen properties.

Arran Bailey, managing director of ALB Group, said: “The hugely positive reaction we’ve received as a result of our efforts to create a cool, Carnaby Street vibe in Nottingham’s Bridlesmith Gate area has spurred us into trying to achieve the same in Derby city centre.

“Albion Street and East Street have been important focal points for Derby’s retail offer for decades, but, like many high streets in Britain, they’ve fallen on hard times.

“Our belief is that we need to change tack slightly and encourage more local, independent businesses onto the high street – ones that offer something different, and more exciting so that we create more reasons to visit and increase the footfall.”

He said that, to achieve this goal, landlords must be far more flexible and affordable in their lease arrangements, which would benefit everyone, from building owners to retailers and shoppers alike.

“Derby’s a great city,” added Arran. “It’s seen some difficult times in recent years, but we think it’s now finding its feet again as is definitely on the up.”

Phil Daniels of FHP Property Consultants represented ALB in this off market transaction agreed with Threadneedle fund managers.

Phil said: “We’d love to see more niche, independent entrepreneurs come into the area around Albion Street and East Street and give it a welcome new lease of life.

“We applaud the vision and ambition of Arran Bailey and ALB Group. Without this kind of approach – creating a scenario where smaller traders feel confident enough to afford high street prices – we would no doubt be seeing the slow death of the city centre.

“Derby shoppers will no doubt welcome a more exciting, varied and altogether more local breed of retailer, and it will be fantastic to see a buzz returning to the city centre.”

He added: “Acting on behalf of ALB Group, we have now acquired numerous properties all over the UK for reletting, repurposing and conversion of upper parts into quality residential accommodation. We are actively seeking more opportunities UK wide in 2022.”

If you are interested in finding out more about the available retail opportunities in Derby, contact Estee at FHP on 07917 576251 or email