It was an advantageous start to the year for Intu Properties, which owns and manages prime regional shopping centres across the UK, but can they capitalise on their 2014 growth?
The FTSE 100 company’s property valuations increased by 8.2%, the equivalent of £648m, highlighting a thriving commercial retail market. Its results almost doubled from £364m to a staggering £600m, something that can be put down to a series of high profile retail clients and strategic investments.
Intu, which owns nine of the top 20 retail destinations in the UK, including Intu Trafford Centre and Intu Metrocentre, signed 120 long-term leases last year for £34m new annual rent at an average 5% above previous passing rent. It also acquired two top UK shopping centres, Intu Derby and Intu Merry Hill, alongside Sprucefield Retail Park in Northern Ireland for £855m. These tactical investments led to the company’s net rental income to increase by £27m to £397m.
Intu has clearly invested in all the right things, building a pipeline of £1.3bn for the next ten years. It welcomes 400m customers through its centres each year and 2014 has led to just under 40% more visits to its transactional website. Boasting John Lewis, Next and Topshop as active retailers, the company understands the importance of developing its clients while also expanding its portfolio globally. Intu Watford is planning a £110m extension in 2015 as the company pays attention to its investments in Spain and current high-profile clients Apple and Zara.
David Fishcel, Chief Executive of Intu Properties, is confident that the company will prosper in 2015: “Following excellent acquisitions both in the UK and Spain in the last few years, we also look to the organic growth opportunity from driving forward our £1.9 billion development programme”.