“For us in the leisure trade, the benefits are absolutely clear” – Peter Seymour of Graham and Sibbald talks Scotland’s Hospitality, Licensed and Leisure Trade

Peter Seymour is the Head of Licensed Trade and Leisure Agency for Graham + Sibbald, and formerly the Managing Director of Seymour & Co, an independent specialist firm of surveyors who specialised in the Hospitality, Licensed and Leisure trade. Peter will be based from their new offices in Glasgow, but will have a national remit looking after the whole of Scotland. NovaLoca caught up with him to discuss what makes Scotland such a remarkable opportunity for the trade and leisure industry.

Graham & Sibbald 1 SA

 Overall, what has business been like this year for Graham + Sibbald?
Phenomenal. 2017 was off to a slow start, but now we’re following on from a very good 2016 – a time when Seymour and Co were still independent, and transactional volumes were up by 25 to 30% since 2015. At this point now in 2017, that slow start has turned into 30-40% of our product going under offer. Not only this, but we’ve seen a massive increase in activity, securing 8 new disposal instructions in the past four weeks.

What do you believe the benefits are for businesses relocating or starting up in Scotland?
For us in the leisure trade the benefits are absolutely clear; for the size of our country compared to others in the world leisure market, we’ve punched well above our weight. We’re the world recognised home of golf, have a rich history that makes us a well renowned tourist destination with attractive country houses, millenniums of history – and, on top of all that, we’ll always have whisky! We’re a market leading country for leisure, and anybody opening for the industry in Scotland already has a head start. In the end, it doesn’t matter who governs us; these factors will always remain in place.

 Scotland has recently benefitted from a share of £25million to help regenerate local communities. Is there a particular area of industry you think would benefit most from this funding?
Probably the drink and dining industry; restaurants, public houses and bars. If you’re driving through small rural villages and towns with lower population numbers, you’ll notice that a great many of these properties are in need of a bit of a face lift if they’re going to draw those dipping trading levels back in. Coupled with the modern legislations and restrictions on drinking in Scotland, it’s not hard to see why these sectors might have been doubly impacted.


 Are there any particular types of occupiers and businesses that are being attracted to Scotland as a business destination?
There’s a lot of international influence in towns and cities, particularly in Glasgow and Edinburgh, with the UK industries expanding into smaller, rural population zones. There’s a fair bit of saturation in larger population areas, thanks to – and it’s a horrible word – the homogenous state of the high-streets, but there’s still a healthy number of Scottish and UK-based public houses and breweries. It’s positive to see that here’s still space for these home-grown operators and units.

Are there any deals or developments you’ve been involved in that you’d like to share with us?
The merger with Graham and Sibbald was certainly the most notable. They’ve a renowned reputation in Scotland, and we’re now looking to really grow the agency department. We’ve seen the immediate benefits of this merger with those aforementioned new instructions that we achieved in the last few weeks. Right now, we’re continuing this momentum through a rebranding process, starting with a new website coming later this year. We’re keen on tailoring our services to the way clients both want and expect, and that’s where my influence came in.
We’ve also just taken on La Taderna in Aviemore – a family run Italian restaurant and one of the most profitable businesses to approach the market in the last 10 years. The company has seen 50% growth in turnover in the last four years, up by 13% in the last 12 months alone, and in terms of net profit, they’ve managed to secure over half a million pounds per annum; naturally, we’re very proud to be marketing that.

Many thanks to Peter Seymour and Graham & Sibbald for this opportunity. You can follow Graham and Sibbald’s developments on Twitter @gslicensedtrade, as well as on their website at g-s.co.uk.