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Hammerson profits up despite footfall declines

Property group Hammerson is “confident of strong growth” despite seeing a 0.4% drop in retail sales and a 1.5% decline in footfall since the start of the year.

Despite a drop in shoppers, Hammerson saw a 2.5% like-for-like increase in net rental income to £140.4m for the six months to June 30. Its continuing portfolio is 97.4% occupied, slightly ahead of the 97% target.

The firm made profits of £81.3m compared to £74m in the same period last year.

So far this year, the business has made “significant advances” with its three major UK developments.

After much stalling, work is now underway on the Croydon development, a £1bn joint venture with Westfield. The business said the scheme was “progressing well” with planning approval expected in the autumn. Subject to consent, construction could start in 2015.

Hammerson has now submitted a planning application for its £130m retail development, which adjoins Victoria Quarter. Work on the 398,000 sq ft outlet, which counts John Lewis as its anchor tenant, will commence in spring 14 with an autumn 16 opening.

It has also updated its plans for a development in Brent Cross to include a new network of covered streets and spaces as part of the 968,000 sq ft extension, costing £350m. A revised planning application is to be submitted this autumn.

“While household budgets in the UK and France remain under pressure, there are encouraging signs of improvement in macro-economic conditions in the UK,” said David Atkins, chief executive of Hammerson.

“We have confidence in our continued ability to secure strong growth in earnings and dividends over the medium term.”

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