Melting Stormtroopers | Electric Forecourts | That's Bananas

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Melting Stormtroopers | Electric Forecourts | That's Bananas

As The Weekly hits your inbox, thousands of hardened runners will be streaming out of Greenwich Park and over the start line for this year's London Marathon.  Not only have the participants got to run a grueling 26.2 miles around the capital, but they have also got to contend with what is expected to be the hottest marathon on record.  Luckily the temperatures aren't forecast to reach Thursday's April record of 29 degrees celsius, but the organisers have still expressed concerns about the well-being of those running in fancy dress costumes.  Apparently it is not the day to be dressed in a full suit of armour whilst dragging a 10ft dragon, or (as in the case of Jez Allinson) to attempt the marathon dressed as a Star Wars Stormtrooper - an outfit designed to provide protection from "Jedi lightsabers", with little (or no) consideration given to "breathability".  Luckily, concerned friends and family can now track the progress of the runners with a newly redesigned App that shows all the drinks stations and first aid points on an interactive map.  More importantly, it even shows the location of the pubs along the route.  So if you've turned up to support an overly ambitious Stormtrooper, or a full-size replica Rhino now slowly succumbing to heatstroke, at least you'll have somewhere agreeable to wait for them!

Barber and Wadlow's Forecourt Property Market Update 2018 released this week shone a light on an alternative sector that is rapidly becoming more mainstream, attracting the likes of AXA, AEW and OLIM.  Notably, the £75 million worth of transactions in 2017 represented a 36% increase on 2016.  The report also looked at the future of the forecourt sector in the wake of the Government's plan to ensure electric vehicles make up 70% of the new car market by 2030.  This will be followed by a ban on the sale of hydrocarbon-powered cars by 2040.  Barber and Wadlow believe that forecourts are well placed to meet demands whatever the energy source (electric, hydrocarbon, or petrol/diesel), but acknowledge that the retailers and oil companies have work to do before they can boast a truly national network of electrical charging points.  Either way the switch over to electric vehicles (EVs) is underway, with double digit growth in EV sales over the last five years.  The one stumbling block to electric vehicle growth in the UK is that some major advances in technology are needed to persuade the mass consumer to make the switch.  At present for example, only 1 in 6 charging connectors provide a "rapid charge" (by which they mean 30 minutes) and there are only three EV models in production with a range of over 275 miles.  Suddenly the already painful trip from London to Cornwall now includes extended pit-stops whilst you "plug-in" the car and spend money you shouldn't on coffees and cakes in the forecourt café!  

Struggling retailers were back in the headlines this week with Carpetright's chief insisting the company will not be following in the footsteps of Toys R Us and will instead "emerge stronger from the CVA", with plans to raise £60m through an equity capital raise for reinvestment in the remaining stores.  One supermarket chain, however, appears to have taken a different approach to boosting turnover in turbulent times after it emerged Asda charged one of its shoppers £930.11 for a single banana.  Bobbie Gordon initially assumed the supermarket had made a typo when she received her bill by email, but was then contacted by her credit card company saying she'd exceeded her £1,000 limit.  Luckily Asda admitted the "slip up" and refunded her the money.  Worth keeping your eyes peeled next time you shop at Asda though!   
 

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Virtual Winner | Trade Premium | Pint or Chilli?

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Virtual Winner | Trade Premium | Pint or Chilli?

Whilst Spring made a belated and welcome appearance yesterday, the 171st Grand National at Aintree glued millions of us to our TV screens as we watched the 40 horses and their riders compete in the world's most iconic and challenging steeplechase.  Yet despite being notoriously unpredictable, many of you will have watched the race smug in the knowledge that you'd already backed the certain winner.  Surely everyone knew that Tiger Rolls was a dead cert?  After all Friday night's "Virtual Grand National Predictor race" shown on ITV4  showed Tiger Rolls winning by a head from Chase the Spud, with Total Recall in third.  Amazingly this incredibly realistic CGI race, based on complex data algorithms, proved to be spot on and Tigers Rolls clinched first place in a dramatic photo finish.  But before you bet your life savings on next year's National, in the mis-guided belief that Nick Luck and his team have cracked the code for sure fire betting success, it is worth pointing out that second place in the "real" race went to Pleasant Company, with Bless the Wings in third.  Chase the Spud and Total Recall never in even made it round!

St Bride's found itself in the property press this week following the acquisition of College Trade Park - a recently completed, new-build trade counter scheme North Leeds.  The scheme headlines a Property Week article that focuses on wider investment appetite for the trade counter sector.  Occupiers in the sector are certainly capitalizing on the e-commerce revolution and are diversifying their functions to include next-day deliveries and click & collect.  This means they will often pay premium rents on the back of the quasi-retail nature of the operation, which in turn makes them an attractive proposition for investors.  The limiting factor though, as one of Savill's directors rightly argues, is that "premium rents are limited to premium locations".  From the occupier's perspective, prominence, accessibility and clustering appear to be the key.      

Whatever happened to the old adage that a glass of red wine in the evening is good for you?  A major study published in the Lancet medical journal has (rather depressingly!) concluded that just one alcoholic drink a day is enough to shorten your life expectancy. Analysis of 60,000 people found that consuming five to ten drinks a week is likely to shorten your life by up to six months.  Analyze that on a drink-by-drink basis and each additional glass of wine brings you 30 minutes closer to the end!  No doubt the study's findings have been the subject of heated debate in the pubs and bars this weekend, but The Weekly isn't convinced that it will do much to curb the nation's drinking habits.  For one, the study ignores the sheer pleasure that can be derived from a post-work pint (or two), or the proven, stress-relieving benefits of a glass of Malbec.  And then we have to remember the fact that humans are innately irrational.  This was best demonstrated last week by a 34 year old American man who was hospitalized with "crushingly painful" headaches after eating the world's hottest chilli pepper.  Why?  To win a chilli eating competition with his mates.  Viewed in that context, the extra round of pints seems eminently sensible! Kronenbourg anyone?

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Commonwealth Bloopers | The Dumb-Bell Economy | Terminal Contents

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Commonwealth Bloopers | The Dumb-Bell Economy | Terminal Contents

In case you don’t watch BBC1 or aren’t minded to stay up all night to watch it, the XXI Commonwealth Games kicked-off this week on the Gold Coast in Australia. What might you have missed? A gold rush for the home nations, a backside stealing the show at the opening ceremony, Adam Peaty winning yet another swimming gold medal, one of the greatest upsets in Commonwealth Games (bowls) history with the Aussie men’s triples team beaten by Jersey, plus the usual, if not rather tedious debate over the merits of the Commonwealth and whether the Commonwealth Games should still exist? These are possible topics for discussion in another edition of The Weekly. But one plausible reason could simply be to provide us with some comedy value as we pine for the warmer weather the athletes are currently enjoying. For example, if it wasn’t for the Commonwealth Games, England would never have been listed as an African nation, with a population of just over two million and a capital called Banjul in the official Games’ programme, would it? Nor would 14,000 tickets have been sold with the wrong date listed for the opening ceremony. There may be talk of legacies, boosting  economies and increasing participation in sport as consequences of hosting a Commonwealth Games, but so long as organisers keep making errors like these, we’ll be happy. No pressure then for Birmingham in four years' time!
 
After a week of chocolate for breakfast, lunch and tea in the aftermath of Easter, it’s only appropriate to touch in with the ‘dumb-bell economy’, even if it’s only to make us feel healthier. It’s booming, driven by the rapid growth at the budget end of the market, the popularity of studio concepts with flexible memberships and new operators with ambitious expansion plans. In fact, according to LeisureDB, the next two years will be a “golden age” of fitness. The industry is likely to hit several milestones – the number of UK gyms is on course to exceed 7,000 for the first time, total membership should exceed 10m, whilst the sector's market value is expected to reach £5bn. In the current climate, the gym has also become a landmark feature in areas looking to gentrify and regenerate. Millennials have had a profound influence on this new enthusiasm for exercise, and with pubs continuing to close at a rate of twenty nine per week, the culture of leisure is changing…and for good. Landlords and investors must realise that the young of today prefer to sweat pints than to sink them.
 
When it comes to attractive investment opportunities, The Weekly always keeps its eyes open in the commercial property markets. Airport terminal contents don't usually feature in our search criteria, but we were taken this week by the announcement that you can basically purchase anything from the old Heathrow Terminal 1. The contents of the terminal, which closed its doors back in 2005, are all up for grabs - 110 check-in desks, signage, CCTV cameras and 4,000 seats are all available. You can also pick up a number of original artworks, and, if you’re thinking even bigger still, you could also treat yourself or your loved ones to some escalators, an entire business lounge or eleven luggage reclaim belts, each measuring 70 metres! Auction firm CA Global Partners hope to fetch a six-figure sum when the items (see catalogue) are sold on 21st April at the Thistle London Heathrow Terminal 5 Hotel. The sale is apparently set to attract two sets of customers, airport chiefs looking for second-hand equipment and memorabilia collectors who fancy something 'Terminal'. Sorry!

 

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