“Bad news for you, Henrietta,” my colleague Ollie chortled. “This BBC headline says ‘Club 18-30 party may be over as millennials’ tastes change’. Your Ayia Napa days are history!”
Thank goodness my clients see only the polished, groomed and businesslike Henrietta. After all, appearance is everything, I thought, popping on my Chelsea Burberry trench and hotfooting it to a client meeting in Fitzrovia.
I have an hour to prep Rob and Adam before they meet a young property hack for a profile piece. What they absolutely won’t be letting slip is how they’ve spent the last year trying to flog their company, as they’re stuck investing in the wrong sector, which has peaked.
What they will instead be revealing is the very many unsolicited approaches they receive and that of course they never want to sell because there is so much more growth to come in their portfolio. I tell them to mimic the penguins in the movie, Madagascar: “Just smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave.”
The interview goes well. When the journo questions the strength and longevity of the retail warehouse sector, they diligently trot out the three ‘key’ messages I’d given them.
One, the collapse of Maplin and Toys R Us and the difficulties with Carpertright and Mothercare were all totally expected and provide amazing asset management opportunities. Two, retail parks will increasingly be of interest to last-mile operators. (Mentioning last-mile is always a good shout because no one quite understands it.) Three, retail parks are – cue more bollocks – click & collect centres.
My clients are a lot like me: what you see is not always what you get.