Hammerson occupancy ahead of target
Shopping centre owner Hammerson grew its net rental income by almost 9.9% to £140.4 million in the first half of its financial year.
In the six months to 30 June like-for-like net rental income rose by 2.5%. At the end of the period group occupancy was 97.4%, which was ahead of Hammerson's 97% target.
David Atkins, Hammerson chief executive, said: "While household budgets in the UK and France remain under pressure, there are encouraging signs of improvement in macro-economic conditions in the UK. Our winning venues remain in demand from consumers and retailers.
“This combined with our management actions, allows us to maintain high occupancy, secure new tenants on attractive terms and consistently grow rental income. We therefore have confidence in our continued ability to secure strong growth in earnings and dividends over the medium term."
During the half year, Hammerson invested an additional £154 million in the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham, taking its stake to 50%, and submitted a detailed planning application for a £130 million John Lewis-anchored retail development adjoining the Victoria Quarter in Leeds.
Hammerson said its joint venture with Westfield to deliver a £1 billion retail-led scheme in the town centre was progressing well, with planning approval expected in the autumn.
However, the group is dropping plans for the Sevenstone retail redevelopment in Sheffield as part of a strategy to focus on schemes which "offer the most attractive returns over the medium to long term".
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