GLOBAL - Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) and Cushman & Wakefield Investors (CWI) have raised €100m in equity for their European retail joint venture fund.

The Pan-European Urban Retail Fund (PURetail Fund) achieved its first closing after securing capital commitments from three European institutional investors.

SWIP is responsible for the fund management, and CWI will look after the asset management of the fund, which will have approximately €200m to deploy in the market once leverage is factored in.

The core-plus fund will focus on the retail sector in high street and city centre locations within stable and mature markets, including Germany, France, Sweden and the UK.

The PURetail Fund will look to source assets under €40m in the most liquid markets, with the aim of offering an attractive income yield and employing active asset management to increase capital values.

A net total return of 10-12% per annum is being targeted during a lifetime of eight years with a three-year investment period.

Malcolm Naish, director of real estate at SWIP, said: "There is strong investor appetite for direct exposure to high street retail, but it can be hard to acquire quality assets outside of domestic markets.

"Our research shows market pricing for assets remains attractive, and the best retailers have shown resilience during the downturn, taking space in the strongest locations in the best markets in anticipation of the upswing in consumer confidence and spending."

David Rendall, European chief executive at CWI, said: "There are numerous attractions of urban retail assets: low volatility and the best risk-adjusted return profile; lack of new supply in the best city locations; retailers' desire to use their high street locations to establish a customer experience to build loyalty; and environmental and demographic drivers leading consumers back to the city centres in favour of driving to out-of-town locations."

Meanwhile, US-based private equity firm Landmark Partners has closed on its fifth real estate fund targeting secondary market trades or recapitalisations of other real estate funds.

Landmark Real Estate VI now has a capitalisation of $718m (€503m) to deploy in real estate 'secondaries'.

Francisco Borges, chief executive at Landmark Partners, said: "This is the largest single-pooled real estate secondary fund ever raised and could not have happened without Landmark's strong track record and experienced team.

"The real estate secondary market is in the early innings of its evolution, and Landmark is well positioned to take advantage of the opportunity."

Landmark Real Estate Fund VI begins its investment period having committed 20% of the fund's capital to date, he said.