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Retail giants commit long-term to revitalised shopping centre

The Nottingham-based owner of Sailmakers shopping centre in Ipswich has secured a trio of renewal deals to secure the long-term commitment of three flagship retail brands.

News that Morrisons and HMV have both committed long-term to the revitalised shopping centre comes just weeks after Poundland announced it had reversed its decision to close its store there.

Morrisons has signed a new 10-year lease on its fully refurbished 2,640 sq ft Morrisons Daily convenience store, near to the Sailmakers bus station entrance in Tower Ramparts.

Meanwhile, HMV has signed a new five-year lease on its 4,000 sq ft neighbouring unit at Sailmakers with the centre’s landlord ALB Group.

The deals represent a major coup for ALB Group, which bought the once-struggling centre in 2022 with the intention of transforming its future.

ALB Group managing director Arran Bailey set out on a mission several years ago to buy-up multiple properties in high streets and retail parks across the UK in order to breathe new life into retail centres that had been hit by the cost-of-living crisis, Covid and the growth in online shopping.

Arran said: “My vision was to save these town centres and other retail sites by approaching the situation very differently from traditional landlords.

“By offering more affordable and far more flexible terms to our tenants, we’ve encouraged many smaller, independent and niche businesses to launch their businesses.

“This has revitalised the locations we have been targeting, attracted more shoppers and, as a result, the bigger, national retail brands are recognising that these sites are great places to be.

“We’re delighted that Morrisons, HMV and Poundland have all chosen to remain at Sailmakers. It really does show that big name brands have got renewed confidence in Sailmakers shopping centre.”

Numerous other businesses have set up shop at Sailmakers since ALB Group purchased the site and carried out the refurbishment of vacant stores. Only a handful of empty units now remain in the centre that was previously approaching something of a ghost town.

Sailmakers, which links Tower Ramparts Bus Station and Tavern Street, is one of a number of prime retail properties across the UK that ALB Group has acquired in recent months and years.

The firm has transformed sites in places including Nottingham, Sheffield, Derby and Peterborough, increasing footfall in those areas and bringing vacant buildings back into use with a mix of retail, leisure and accommodation.

Oliver Marshall, director of commercial property agent FHP, which is marketing the Sailmakers site on behalf of ALB, said: “We're delighted to have secured these national brands on a long-term basis with good market terms.

“Morrisons, HMV and Poundland are true giants of the retail sector, so to see them commit to a long-term future at the centre is wonderful.”

He added: "As a result of these renewed leases, we are hopeful of filling the final vacant units at Sailmakers very soon. Some very positive negotiations are ongoing with a number of prospective businesses."

To find out more about the remaining available units at Sailmakers shopping centre, contact Oliver Marshall on 07887 787885 or email