British Land grows profits

Published:  09 February, 2012

Meadowhall manager shrugs off retail downturn

British Land unveiled pre-tax profits up 6.3 per cent in the three months to the end of December 2011, with improved occupancy across its retail portfolio.

Footfall across the retail portfolio was up 3.0 per cent in the quarter, significantly outperforming the industry average which fell 1.1 per cent. Occupancy increased by 20 basis points to 98.4 per cent with 102 lettings and renewals covering 310,000 sq ft agreed at an average of 7.5 per cent above ERV.

The out-of-town portfolio continued attract new formats including Swarovski and Jack & Jones at Glasgow Fort, and the on-line fashion retailer Simply Be at Teesside. Other key lettings during the quarter were the introduction of Urban Outfitters at Meadowhall, and further lettings to M&S, Next and Asda Living.

Tenants in administration were unchanged over the quarter at 0.4 per cent of total rent. But by the end of January 2012 it had risen to 0.7 per cent with a significant number of the units expected to continue to trade. As at 31 December 2011, temporary lettings accounted for only 0.3 per cent of total rent.

Chief executive Chris Grigg said: “These results reflect the resilience of British Land’s business. Of course, the current economic outlook is uncertain, but overall our business is defensively positioned today and will benefit further as economic growth returns.”

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