A coup de effect for El Corte Inglés. The department store company changes its strategy and moves from retreat to real estate expansion. After years of getting rid of assets, yesterday it closed the purchase of a building in Madrid's Puerta del Sol, company sources confirmed to El Mundo.

Specifically, El Corte Inglés has bought from the Kennedy Wilson fund the building located at Puerta del Sol 9, next to number 10, which is already owned by the department store, dedicated exclusively to sports

The property occupies a total of 3,400 square metres and is listed and protected by the Madrid City Council. Due to its architectural characteristics, the company could join it to the adjoining building and create a single independent center that would reach 9,000 square meters, although this decision has not yet been made.

The amount of the millionaire operation has not been disclosed and the company does not detail the use that will be given to the new center. The idea, in any case, is to bet on both fashion and technology, in a place that is currently led by the giant Apple.

What El Corte Inglés does highlight is that with this acquisition they become the retailer with the most complete commercial offer in the central area of Madrid, one of the busiest in the Spanish capital, the epicenter of foreign tourism, as well as national visitors.

Not surprisingly, after this operation, the company chaired by Marta Álvarez strengthens its presence in this commercial axis where it already has two shopping centres, which are located in Calle Preciados and Plaza de Callao, as well as the outlet in Calle de la Abada, in addition to the centre dedicated to sports at number 10 Puerta del Sol.

Open "as soon as possible"

The intention, as revealed by sources from the distribution giant, is to open a new center "as soon as possible". "It will be a matter of months," they remark. The building they have just bought is already for commercial use, so it will only require a minor renovation.

After getting rid of properties considered "non-strategic", ECI goes on a shopping spree again and does so with the acquisition of this emblematic building at kilometre zero of the capital. It thus complies with the roadmap set by Álvarez at the shareholders' meeting last July, where he stressed the commitment to physical stores, in addition to online commerce.

In 2022, the group sold properties for a total value of €313 million, according to the annual accounts. After these divestments, the real estate portfolio was valued at approximately €16,000 million.