Property investor Praxis has added an 80,000sqft shopping centre asset to its portfolio.

Praxis, which specialises in value-adding strategies in the UK regions, said it bought The Forum Shopping Centre in Sittingbourne for around £7m (€8.1m) from an undisclosed seller.

Praxis managing director, Gary Roberts, said: “We are alert to the troubles that retailers are facing, not least that occupational costs need to come down for them to be viable operations.

“Rents are falling, and so are valuations, so the challenge for us is to anticipate how large and fast the decline will be and buy in at a re-based level such that further capital investment, aimed at enhancing the consumer experience, makes economic sense.”

Roberts said many existing landlords with inflated legacy book costs are not able to justify such investment and this results in a sort of entropy.

“First inertia, then reactive and restricted investment aimed at arresting the fall, and then terminal decline.

“The retail recovery is only going to happen once there is universal acceptance that the market has fundamentally, and irrevocably changed - we are in a new era of lower rents, and lower values.”P