A well positioned portfolio and record leasing has driven a strong performance at retail property specialist Hammerson.
David Atkins, chief executive of Hammerson, said: “In recent years we have actively rebalanced the weighting of our portfolio towards high footfall destinations in major cities across the UK and Europe and this has underpinned our strong financial success at a time of on-going structural change in retail. By creating the space that today’s retailers need to showcase their brands, we achieved the highest level of lettings this year than in any other in Hammerson’s 75-year history and group occupancy is at a 17-year high at 98.3%. This activity contributed to a 6.5% uplift in Earnings Per Share, which has risen on average by 8.3% per annum over the past five years.
“Not all retail is equal and not all locations are well placed to support the future needs of brands. But with 440 million visitors a year, our unrivalled consumer insight and relationship with retailers ensures that we target the next generation of brands, as we proactively rotate retailers and expand winning formats. n this evolving retail marketplace, winning retailers increasingly choose our exceptional destinations to achieve their growth potential and so, our role as an expert operator of retail property is more significant than ever before.
“The highlight of 2017 was the announcement of our proposed acquisition of intu. In line with our strategy, the transaction will further enhance our portfolio and operating platform, providing further opportunity to expand in higher growth markets. We are on track with our acquisition timetable and integration planning.
“Our disciplined approach to capital recycling ensures we continually lift the overall quality of our portfolio and we are seeing clear investment demand for our well-managed properties. We have achieved £1.2bn of disposals over the last three years including £400m in 2017. Consumer confidence in France and Ireland is strong and our unique position in the premium outlets sector continues to deliver impressive growth, and today we announce further investment by increasing our economic interest in the internationally renowned Bicester Village to over 50%. Overall, we are in a strong position to respond to the current consumer conditions in the UK and our rigorous approach to the capital and asset management of our properties supports our confidence in generating future returns for our shareholders.”