Big supermarkets are back in fashion as bidding wars become common for large sites.

More than £1bn of large supermarket and distribution transactions have been completed so far this year, says Colliers.

Investors are attracted by the big chains using their extra space to fulfil more online orders. “Back in 2010 or 2012, many people assumed that the online model would be run out of centralised hubs,” said Steve Windsor at Supermarket Reit, an active buyer of supermarket freeholds. “But thinking has evolved and retailers are putting fulfilment into stores instead.”

In 2012, Tesco halted development of larger stores and three years later said it would not build on 49 sites that it had acquired. Now, Tesco is buying superstores it had previously rented. In its 2019 financial year, it spent £172m acquiring freeholds and now owns more than half its UK and Irish store space.