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Property investors set to ‘check out’ supermarket premises with a new lease up for sale

The property in the centre of prosperous Waikato township Matamata contains the town’s Countdown supermarket.

Countdown is New Zealand’s leading supermarket brand – with 180 branded supermarkets across New Zealand employing more than 18,000 workers and stocking some 20,000 product items on its shelves. The Countdown brand is part of Woolworths New Zealand - a subsidiary of the publicly listed Australian company Woolworths Group Limited.

Behind the scenes, Countdown supermarkets throughout New Zealand are supported by four dry grocery distribution centres, three fresh produce distribution centres, three chilled and frozen distribution centres, two meat and seafood processing plants, and a central support office.

Sitting on some 2,352-square metres of flat square-shaped land zoned commercial 8A under the Matamata Piako District Council plan, Countdown Matamata operates from a 1,050-square metre building which has a new building standards rating of 96 percent. The premises was built in the late 1980s, and Countdown Matamata has been on the site since 1995 – cementing its position among the town’s biggest and busiest retail and grocery outlets.

General Distributions Ltd – trading as Countdown Matamata – is on a newly negotiated five-year lease at the 82 Arawa Street site running through to 2027, with three further three-year rights of renewal, generating annual rental revenue of $201,400 plus GST and operating expenses.

The prime freehold land and building at 82 Arawa Street on the corner of Gouk Street in Matamata are now being marketed for sale at auction on March 10 through Bayleys Hamilton. Salesperson Josh Smith said the property benefitted from being just a close walk from the town’s central business district, in conjunction with having on-site car parking for 32 vehicles, along with additional street parking on Gouk Street consisting of 19 marked public parking spots.

“Constructed of concrete block with long run iron roofing, the building features a standard design and layout for a supermarket - with the aisles leading towards the checkout area before exiting the store,” said Smith.

“The produce, butchery, and deli sections all include separate preparation and storage areas operated under appropriate health and food safety regulations.

“The northwestern corner of the building has a second level accessed via an internal stairwell, and contains staff facilities including lunchroom, separate male/female toilets, and locker storage for personal belongings.

“The manager's office is located on this level to give some separation from the shop floor. Meanwhile, goods are delivered to the supermarket via a wide service alley running down one side of the building. This area also houses several shipping containers used for additional storage space, and is also where the waste removal bins are located.

“As befitting of a Countdown supermarket required to meet the parent’ company’s strict customer service and brand representation standards, the Arawa Street property has been maintained both internally and externally to an extremely high stand throughout its life,” Smith added.

“Under the new lease terms, Countdown as the tenant has also agreed to undertake a substantial upgrade of the premises later this year to ensure the property maintains its high levels of efficiency and appearance.”

Smith said the store’s internal temperature was maintained by multiple air-conditioning units fixed on the roof, along with heaters on the store’s ceiling. Both services were operated and maintained by the tenant.

“Artificial lighting throughout the store - along with additional natural lighting from the high windows - provides an overall experience shoppers expect from the Countdown brand,” he added.

Smith said the past two years of social turmoil created by COVID-19 in the community had highlighted the social importance of supermarkets in New Zealand society – particularly locations servicing rural populations such as Matamata.

“Supermarket operations such as Countdown Matamata are classified by the Government as essential service providers – and rightfully so. The essential services provider classification has endorsed the attraction of this investment class – underpinned by a nationally-branded tenant on a long lease in a prime CBD location,” he said.

“There are few other locations or buildings of this type in Central Matamata, and the Countdown brand fits in with the town’s general population demographic.”

As a rural services township with a population of some 7,806 residents according to the 2018 census, Matamata’s businesses derive much of their income from the dairying, equine and cropping sectors of primary industry, along with tourism linked to the Lord of the Rings Hobbiton.

Click here for more information on the listing.

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