£1 shopping centre in Kirkcaldy sells for £310,000

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Some 14 of the mall’s 21 shops are vacant

The shopping centre in Fife which was put up for auction with a reserve price of only £1, has been sold for £310,000.

A dozen different bidders competed for just five minutes to buy it some online, some over the phone and some in the room, before a phone bidder won it.

The Postings centre, which has 14 of its 21 shops vacant, was being sold by pension fund Columbia Threadneedle..

It follows a spate of retail closures in the town as shopping increasingly moves online.

The centre also has a 299-space car park and its tenants currently include Fife Council, Lloyds Pharmacy and Farmfoods Limited.

It is close to the town’s pedestrianised High Street, which contains some big-name chain stores, and another shopping centre.

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A Columbia Threadneedle spokesperson said: “We are pleased that The Postings has moved on to a new owner who can hopefully reposition and revitalise it to the benefit of the local community.”

The Postings opened in 1981, having cost £4.25m to build, and attracted a number of big name retailers throughout the 1990s.

Analysis: By Emma Simpson, business correspondent

The reserve price of £1 generated plenty of headlines. It was also a canny way to create lots of interest from as many potential buyers as possible.

But there was a reason the reserve price was so low – the costs of running this dated and half empty shopping centre were higher than what the owner was getting in income.

And things were only going to get worse with more leases up for renewal over the next few years.

So Columbia Threadneedle threw in the towel.

It’s not yet clear who the new owner is but the investor must believe they can make a decent return on that £310,000 investment as a redevelopment opportunity.

Even so, the fate of The Postings shopping centre is another stark example of the downturn in retail property values.

Tuesday also marked the last day of opening for Kirkcaldy’s branch of Marks and Spencer, which is closing after 80 years in the town.

In November, experts warned that more than 200 shopping centres across the UK were in danger of going into administration.

The closure of major stores like BHS and Toys R Us has hit them hard and, at the time, analyst Nelson Blackley said: “If centres close, particularly in small towns, it will be catastrophic.”

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