The first quarter of 2022 saw 18 deals completed across the retail sector, the second-highest quarterly level since the start of the pandemic, according to new analysis from Grant Thornton UK’s quarterly retail sector M&A report.
The £1.5bn announced deal value over the period was more than double that of Q1 2021, but was down from the £4.4bn value announced in Q4 2021 (although this included the £4bn Selfridges sale).
The quarter’s biggest reported deal was Antin Infrastructure Partners’ sale of UK motorway services operator Roadchef to Macquarie Asset Management for a reported £900m.
Overseas acquirers accounted for 39% of deals in the period, and headline deals included US-based Sycamore Partners’ offer for Ted Baker.
Nicola Sartori, head of retail and consumer mergers and acquisitions at Grant Thornton UK, said: “Since last summer, we have been seeing a resurgence in activity from trade buyers, who historically have been very active in the sector but pushed pause on their acquisition strategy due to conditions created by the pandemic.
“As ‘post-coronavirus’ trading has stabilised, concerns about store closures and the Covid-bounce effect on company valuations have become less relevant. Retail-sector watchers will be keeping a close eye on allocation of household spending, considering the impact of inflation.”