Corporates sold up last year while independent operators made the most of the opportunity and built their businesses, according to a leading property agent. According to an analysis of sales activity during 2010, Christie & Co saw volumes rise during 2010 across the hotels, pubs, restaurants, leisure, care and retail sectors. Overall deals completed by the company last year rose 32%, compared with 2009. Of these, approaching half (44%) of businesses were sold on behalf of corporate operators, compared with 40% in 2009 and just 29% in 2008. Local entrepreneurs, typically living within 20 miles of the businesses they bought, made up 70% of total sales. David Rugg, chairman of Christie & Co, said: “Having acquired significant numbers of businesses whilst the markets were at their most buoyant, some of the largest operators in our sectors had assembled vast estates that could be shorn of hundreds of assets. "Freehold businesses that were previously absorbed by these large estates were brought back to the market, where they have been acquired by smaller groups and private owner operators. “Whilst the volume of deals transacted last year is still a long way behind the number we completed at the peak of the market, it proves that buyer confidence is returning.” The analysis is part of Christie & Co’s Business Outlook 2011 publication, which will be launched on 18th January.