Q&A with Philip Joyce & Steph Davies at City Plumbing

Name: Philip Joyce (Property Director) & Steph Davies (Senior Surveyor)

Who are City Plumbing?

City Plumbing are your local plumbing, heating and electrical supplier for the trade.

Recently purchased by H.I.G Capital, our award winning company spans the trade, home improvement and DIY markets. With 9 successful businesses in the division we’ve grown to over 3,500 colleagues across the UK and Ireland.

How many locations do City Plumbing currently have?

City Plumbing sits within The Highborne Group who operate from more than 350 branches. The Highbourne Group also includes the brands PTS, UFHS, DHS, National Shower Spares, Plumbnation, Solfex & Plumbworld. As a group we are the UK’s number 1 for distribution of plumbing and heating products

We have around 315 City Plumbing branded stores. 252 of those have our fantastic showroom offering, which is in all new sites as standard and fully open to the public..

Target locations?

We are targeting prominent locations with surrounding trade operators either in central locations or dedicated trade or industrial parks. We prefer units with dedicated parking and loading areas with 6 metre eves.

We are willing to explore all opportunities in the target locations including agreeing pre-lets on new developments.

In bigger cities, such as London, we are prepared to get creative! This includes High Street options.

How many new locations are you targeting?

In 2021 we were purchased by H.I.G Capital and targeted to open 65 new City Plumbing branches within 5 years.

1 year on we have already legally committed to 25 with 14 already open and trading.  We are quietly confident that by the end of 2022 we will have opened in excess of 20 branches this year.

Size requirements?

We are looking for units of 2,000 - 5,000sq ft. We are also in the process of taking a unit of <2,000sq ft to trial a small format store. We hope this will open the door to more opportunities in tricky towns with lack or stock or big rents.

Planning consent?

We require units with B1, B2 and B8 and ancillary showroom & trade counter use

Freehold or Leasehold?

We are looking for leasehold properties available on a 10 year term with a break in year 5.

Do you pay introductory fees?

Yes, we do pay fees for genuine introductions.

Recent openings or new locations in the pipeline?

This year we have already opened new City Plumbings in Bude, Dereham, Winsford, Glasgow Anniesland, Corby, Lymington, Emerson Green, Long Eaton, Coalville, Ashford, Rochester & Stamford & Bicester plus relocating Huyton.

We have also exchanged or completed Leases in Brierley Hill, Kingston, Kenley, Stowmarket, Daventry, Oldbury, Elgin, Clacton & Herne Bay.

Plus more in legals!

Additional Questions:

What are the main challenges you face when acquiring new property?

It will be no surprise to hear that the main challenge for us & many other occupiers is the rates rents are rising and the speed properties are going under offer.

We also face challenges with the types of units coming to market that might be in the perfect location but not suitable for our operation. A big one is floor loading - we need to have a certain spec for our mezzanines and heavy duty racking. It’s safety first with us so we always carry out our due diligence on floors.

We are all aware that the national development pipeline is the lowest it has been for 10 years. Although we are seeing this lack of supply pick up for next year, this does mean that building a future pipeline has been tricky. We are keen to speak to developers early and work on pre-lets for schemes or one offs just for us.

Favourite occupier?

Steph loves a Costa. Being on the road a lot she needs a decent coffee!

Favourite retail or leisure destination?

For Phil, it’s got to be Holcombe Beach in North Norfolk where you can enjoy a thousand acres of sky.

Contact details?

Email – Steph Davies  

Tel - 07467 442642 / stephanie.davies@cityplumbing.co.uk

We have no retained agents across the UK and Ireland and are working on a ’first to bring it to us’ scheme. We will pay intro fees.

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