Tesco large store

Source: Tesco

The property group own six supermarkets including four Tesco stores

The UK’s biggest buyer of supermarkets in 2018 has ramped up its expansion plans, days after hiring ex-Sainsbury’s boss Justin King as an advisor.

The Supermarket Income REIT has secured £45m after almost doubling its equity raise target from £25m, on the back of the “strong level of support from investors”.

The original announcement was made last week after the fund said it t had identified two “near term” supermarkets which were in advanced due diligence.

Supermarket REIT already owns six supermarkets having which are let to Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons on long term leases, having acquired £104m of supermarket assets in 2018.

In a new statement the £340m if raised would be used to acquire two supermarket assets from either the originally identified £260 million pipeline of five assets or from a growing number of further opportunities which the investment adviser has identified, with the balance to be funded through debt financing.

Earlier this week it announced former Sainsbury’s CEO King has been appointed as a senior advisor to retail property group.

King, who led the grocer for 10 years until 2014, will take on the role as an advisor for Atrato Capital, the investment management arm of the AIM-listed group.

Prior to his tenure leading Sainsbury’s growth, he was part of the leadership team at Marks & Spencer and previously held senior roles at Asda.

The group said King would “bring a wealth of experience of the grocery sector and a deep understanding of grocery property strategy”.

“I look forward to joining the Atrato team and playing my part in investing in supermarket property forming a key part of the future model of UK grocery,” said King.