Secure Retail Investment in Affluent South East Commuter Town

81-85 High Street | Dorking | Surrey | RH4 1AW


subject to contract

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  • Wealthy South East commuter town

  • Attractive, prime retail investment

  • Let to WH Smith (Net Assets £884 million)

  • Part sub-let to Boots Opticians (Net Assets £112 million)

  • Let until October 2026

  • October 2021 break option removed, demonstrating the tenant’s commitment to the property

  • Re-based rent following the taking back of the upper parts by the landlord

  • Prime position on the High Street

  • Two in-situ tenants, providing flexibility at lease expiry

  • £925,000, subject to contract

  • 7.0% Net Initial Yield



Dorking is an affluent South East market town in Surrey which forms part of the London commuter belt. It is situated 42 km (26 miles) south of Central London and 19 km (12 miles) east of Guildford.

The town benefits from excellent road connections, being served by the A24 which links directly with Junction 9 of the M25 Motorway and is approximately 9.5 km (6 miles) to the north and Worthing to the south. The A25 also provides direct access to Guildford to the west. The town benefits from three railway stations with regular services to London Victoria and London Waterloo with fastest journey times of 56 minutes and 51 minutes respectively. London Gatwick Airport is approximately 23 km (14 miles) to the south-east and Heathrow Airport some 40 km (25 miles) to the north.

The town is bordered on three sides by the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is an attractive area for occupiers given its excellent transport links.


The subject property is situated within the heart of Dorking Town Centre, occupying a prime central retailing pitch on the High Street. The property lies a short distance to the west of St Martin’s Walk Shopping Centre which boasts a selection of well-known brands including Marks & Spencer, The Body Shop, Vodafone and Milletts. Other nearby retailers include Sainsburys, Mountain Warehouse, Barclays, WHSmith, Fat Face, Boots, EE and Starbucks.



The property comprises a retail unit arranged on ground floor with ancillary accommodation at basement level. Internally, the retail floor is predominantly open plan with ancillary areas and has been fitted out by the tenant to their usual corporate style.

The unit has been sub-divided by the tenant and part sub-let to Boots Opticians.

The upper floors, which comprise six residential apartments, do not form part of the sale. However, further details can be provided upon request should an investor be interested in acquiring these upper parts.


The lease states that the following floor areas are to be used in calculating the open market rent of the property:

81 High Street Sq M Sq Ft
Ground Floor Sales 200.65 2,159
ITZA   725
Ground Floor Rear Ancillary 39.13 421
Sub-Total 239.78 2,580
83 High Street Sq M Sq Ft
Ground Floor Sales 90.15 970
ITZA   554
Basement Storage 58.92 634
Sub-Total 149.07 1,601
Total   388.85 4,184

The property has been measured by BKR Floor Plans, with the measured survey producing the following areas:

Gross Frontage 5.38 m 17 ft 8 inches
Net Frontage 4.95 m 16 ft 3 inches
  Sq M Sq Ft
81 High Street
Zone A 36.32 391
Zone B 35.21 379
Zone C 32.14 346
Remainder 149.29 1,607
ITZA   868
Sub-Total 252.97 2,723
83 High Street
Zone A 25.83 278
Zone B 18.77 202
Zone C 26.10 281
Remainder 6.22 67
ITZA   458
Ground Floor Total 76.92 828
Basement 122.44 1,318
Sub-Total 199.36 2,146
Total 452.33 sq m 4,869 sq ft

A set of floor plans is available to download and the measured survey report will be assigned to a purchaser at a cost of £455 + VAT.

The measured areas are greater than the floor areas stated in the lease, to the advantage of an investor.


Rateable Value

According to the Valuation Office the rateable value for the retail unit is as follows:

Address Description Rateable Value
81 High Street (WH Smith) Shop & Premises £43,250
83 High Street (Boots) Shop & Premises £33,000

The Uniform Business Rate is 49.9 pence per pound for rateable values below £51,000.



The upper floors will be let on a new 999 year lease from completion at a rent of £600 per annum.



The ground floor is entirely let to WH Smith Retail Holdings Limited (t/a British Bookshops & Stationers), guaranteed by WH Smith High Street Holdings Limited, on a full repairing and insuring lease for a term of 15 years from 25th October 2011, expiring on 24th October 2026.

In accordance with a Deed of Surrender of Part and Variation dated 19th October 2020, the upper parts were taken back by the Landlord and the tenant’s October 2021 break option removed. The rent was also reduced from £120,000 per annum to a current rent of £68,000 per annum. The tenant has a personal concession to pay rent monthly – please see data room.

Part of the ground floor at 83 High Street has been sub-let to Boots Opticians Professional Services Limited on a virtual co-terminus lease expiring on 20th October 2026 at a current rent of £30,500 per annum.

The tenant has an excellent payment record. All rents are paid and up to date, with no arrears. Note that the lease and the sub-lease provide that the tenant and sub-tenant benefit from security of tenure.

The upper floors will be let on a new 999 year lease at a rent of £600 per annum.



The tenant, WHSmith Retail Holdings Limited (Co. No. 0471941), has reported the following figures:

  31st August 2021 31st August 2020
Turnover £160,225,000 £181,561,000
Pre-Tax Profits (Loss) (£12,511,000) (£49,224,000)
Net Assets £883,833,000 £890,889,000

For the year ending 31st August 2021 the guarantor, WHSmith High Street Holdings Limited (Co. No. 6560371), reported Net Assets of £101,604,000.

The ultimate parent company is WH Smith Plc, a leading global retailer for news, books and convenience made up of two core business – Travel and High Street. WHSmith Travel operates in over 150 air units, over 130 hospital units and over 290 rail units and other UK locations. WHSmith High Street has an extensive reach across the UK, and a presence on nearly every significant UK high street, mainly in prime locations. Their retail offering includes a wide range of products in the following categories: Stationery (including greeting cards, general stationery, art and craft, and gifting), News and Impulse (including newspapers, magazines, confectionery and drinks) and Books.  For further information see

The sub-tenant, Boots Opticians Professional Services Limited (Co. No. 06779221), has reported the following figures:

  31st August 2020 31st August 2019
Revenue £291,186,000 £393,687,000
Pre-Tax Profits (Loss) (£43,616,000) £14,281,000
Net Assets £112,276,000 £156,250,000

The Company operated a total of 550 stores as at 31st August 2020 of which 385 were owned stores and 165 were franchised. The ultimate parent company is Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc, a global leader in retail pharmacy with a presence in more than 25 countries, over 21,000 stores and more than 450,000 employees. For further information see


The property is elected for VAT. We anticipate that the sale should be capable of being treated as a Transfer of Going Concern (TOGC).



We are instructed to seek offers in the region of £925,000 (Nine Hundred and Twenty-Five Thousand Pounds), subject to contract, reflecting a net initial yield of 7.0%, assuming standard purchaser’s costs of 5.66%.

Please note that a purchaser will be re-charged the costs of searches (£1,254.25) and measured survey (£455 + VAT) which are provided in the data room.

Please note that a purchaser will be charged a Transaction Fee of £5,000 plus VAT.

Investment Considerations

  1. An opportunity to acquire a freehold retail investment within a wealthy South East commuter town;

  2. The property occupies a prime position on the High Street;

  3. Securely let to WH Smith (Net Assets £884 million);

  4. Part sub-let to Boots Opticians (Net Assets £112 million);

  5. Let until October 2026;

  6. The October 2021 break option has been removed, demonstrating the tenant’s commitment to the property;

  7. The rent has been re-based following the taking back of the upper parts by the landlord;

  8. Two in-situ tenants, providing a Landlord with flexibility at lease expiry;

  9. A purchase at the asking price reflects an attractive net initial yield.


Data Room and clicktopurchase®

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Contact Us

Singer Vielle  +44 (0) 207 935 7200
Dale Henry
Neil Singer

Vendors Solicitor

Quastels  +44 (0) 207 908 2580
Aisha Anjum
Owen Walsh