At a time when many secondary & tertiary retail centres are struggling to attract and keep businesses, British Land has shown the strength of prime centres by posting strong third quarter results today.
Overall occupancy across the property firm’s retail sites, which include the Meadowhall, Glasgow Fort & Drake Circus shopping centres, stood at 98.4 per cent at the end of 2011 with 102 lettings and renewals agreed in the last three month of 2011 at an average of 7.5 per cent above estimated rental value (ERV).
Over the Q3 period footfall at its retail properties increased three per cent, significantly outperforming the wider industry which saw visitor traffic decline 1.1 per cent during that time, and the group has committed to increasing its selling space by one million sq ft in the coming months and years.
Chris Grigg, CEO of British Land, commented: “These results reflect the resilience of British Land’s business.
“It is noteworthy that underlying profits are up 6.3 per cent despite the tougher economic environment. At the same time, occupancy, income and ERV all rose in the quarter.”
Perhaps a strong indicator of the strength of British Land’s retail portfolio is that while several struggling traders, including nationwide chain Blacks, fell into administration during the quarter, the number of its tenants in administration remained unchanged at 0.4 per cent.
Key lettings during the quarter included Swarovski and Jack & Jones at Glasgow Fort, Urban Outfitters at Meadowhall, and further deals with M&S, Next and Asda Living.
Construction work has commenced on the new Whiteley Shopping Centre in South Hampshire, which British Land owns 50 per cent of, with M&S, Tesco, Next, H&M and Boots all confirmed as occupiers.
Extensions are being carried out at Glasgow Fort and Surrey Quays, while several other construction projects are at the planning stage.
Grigg added: “Of course, the current economic outlook is uncertain, but overall our business is defensively positioned today and will benefit further as economic growth returns.”