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Hammerson upbeat despite drop in footfall and sales

Shopping centre owner Hammerson has reported a fall in sales and visits to its UK shopping centres in the first three months of 2012.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Hammerson upbeat despite drop in footfall and sales

Shopping centre owner Hammerson has reported a fall in sales and visits to its UK shopping centres in the first three months of 2012.

The company said that footfall in its UK malls declined by 1.9% in the first quarter of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011. Sales by its UK tenants fell 1.7% in the period, although sales improved each month throughout the quarter, and were positive in March.

Occupancy levels were 0.1% ahead of the company’s 97% target although they dropped slightly from 97.9% in December 2011.

Hammerson said it has started on work on the redevelopment of its Monument Mall in Newcastle, with the first unit due to open for trading later this year. It has also signed Marks & Spencer Simply Food and Vue Cinema as anchors at the Manor Walks Shopping Centre and  neighbouring Westmorland Retail Park in Cramlington where construction is expected to start later this month.

Earlier this month the company was selected as the preferred development partner for the Whitgift centre, Croydon.

David Atkins, Hammerson chief executive  said: "Hammerson has again performed well despite the challenging economic backdrop and continued pressure on household incomes. We are attracting leading retailers to our shopping centres and retail parks. During the quarter, we agreed leases with rents in excess of ERV and occupancy remains ahead of our 97% target.

"I believe our focus on being the best owner-manager and developer of retail property within Europe will deliver industry-leading returns for shareholders."

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