HomeCo looks to beef up convenience retail portfolio in Sydney
Retail landlord HomeCo is defying the coronavirus pandemic by looking to expand its empire of convenience retail stores beyond the former Masters sites it has redeveloped, and is seeking major acquisitions in western Sydney.
The company tapped some of the country’s wealthiest families as it snapped up the ex-Masters hardware properties for about $725m in 2016, and it redeveloped the best sites into shopping centres before a successful float last year.
Buying shopping centres while the coronavirus pandemic and an accelerating shift to e-commerce rip through the sector may appear counterintuitive. But convenience retailing and large format centres have proven their resilience.
Both HomeCo and rival large format-focused Aventus, backed by billionaire Brett Blundy, performed well in reporting season. Wealthy investors are keen to back HomeCo’s brand of daily needs retailing, with backers including HomeCo executive chairman David Di Pilla’s own Aurrum Group of investors joined by the founders of Spotlight, Chemist Warehouse, and the Besen family.
Former UBS banker Matthew Grounds, the Oatley family and Aussie Home Loans founder John Symond also backed the HomeCo float last year.
The company is now targeting the $150m purchase of Glenmore Park Town Centre in western Sydney. It houses strongly performing Woolworths, Coles and Aldi supermarkets and about 60 specialty retailers. The centre, which has more than 650 car spaces, also includes services such as a Coles click & collect. Retailers were selected in line with the area demographics, making the two building complexes resilient through the crisis.