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Hammerson plans further retail investment as sales rise

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Profits for property company Hammerson fell slightly over the last half-year but retail sales at its properties remained strong over the period, results revealed today.

Despite national retail trading declining in the last six months as consumer confidence has sunk, sales at Hammerson’s UK shopping centres have grown 1.9 per cent on like-for-like (LFL) basis from the start of the year to June 30th 2011.

Net rental income for the firm was up 3.9 per cent LFL year-on-year during the period, and for its UK retail portfolio this jumped to a growth of 8.8 per cent compared to its previous financial year.

Footfall at the group’s UK shopping sites increased 2.6 per cent against a benchmark of 0.9 per cent and its vacancy level in these sites is below three per cent compared to the current market average of around 12 per cent.

David Atkins, CEO of Hammerson, said: “These results show continued momentum in our business, driven by high quality assets coupled with focused management initiatives.

“Our regionally dominant shopping centres and convenient retail parks are trading ahead of national benchmarks and continue to attract successful retailers.”

A 0.7 per cent drop in adjusted profit before tax to £69.7 million was due to “effects of disposals and higher administration expenses” according to Hammerson, and it will continue to invest in its retail portfolio over the next few years.

Renovation work will commence at the recently purchased Monument Mall in the centre of Newcastle and amongst other retail park developments, it will invest around £75 million in The Orchard Centre in Didcot with work starting in 2013.

“We have enhanced the prospective returns from the portfolio through both targeted acquisitions and development activity, and our flexible financing structure will allow us to take advantage of further investment opportunities,” Atkins added.

“Despite a challenging retail backdrop in both our markets, we have seen little impact from the recent rise in UK retail administrations, and will benefit from positive indexation in France.”

Published on Monday 01 August by Editorial Assistant

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