Shopping centre and commercial property owner Hammerson has seen overall occupancy across its portfolio stabilise over the last quarter with a slight rise in retail vacancies, according to results issued today.
A difficult summer, which included the nationwide rioting seen in August, resulted in a 1.9 per cent and 3.8 per cent drop in footfall and sales respectively for the three months ending September 30th 2011 across its UK shopping centres.
This compares well with its French retail assets however which experienced a 4.9 per cent and 6.5 per cent drop in these measurements over the same period.
Total occupancy across the group, which includes such shopping centres as the Bullring in Birmingham, Cabot Circus in Bristol and London’s Brent Cross, slipped from 97.2 per cent during the quarter whilst UK retail occupancy declined 0.3 per cent to 96.9 per cent.
David Atkins, CEO of Hammerson, said: “Over the period, the economic environment has weakened and consumer confidence has fallen in both the UK and France.
“Nevertheless, we continue to deliver on our strategic objectives of maximising income growth and creating value from our high quality portfolio, whilst reducing costs and retaining financial flexibility.”
Hammerson’s portfolio is protected somewhat by the strength of prime retail locations at present and a lack of new developments, making its major shopping destinations highly sought after by both retailers and customers.
The number of units in administration across its portfolio fell from 53 to 40 over the three months, perhaps reflecting a more muted response to the third-quarter day rental payment than many had feared.
Hammerson is attempting to improve its multichannel offering in its retail sites and helped launch a new ‘buy & collect’ store from House of Fraser in Union Square, Aberdeen and Boden’s first pop-up shop at Reading’s The Oracle during the period.
Atkins added: “Polarisation in consumer markets is benefitting our regionally dominant shopping centres and convenient retail parks, both of which continue to attract successful retailers.”