Shopping centre owner Intu has said it experienced a “strong letting performance” in 2018, despite a challenging retail environment.
Footfall across its centres decreased by 1.6%, but Intu said this outperformed the national retail average of a 3.5% fall.
Like-for-like rental growth was up 0.6% in the year to 31 December 2018 and occupancy rates remained stable at 96.7%.
However, valuations declined by 3% in the final quarter of 2018. Intu said it had been ”a difficult year for the whole sector as sentiment weakened significantly”.
Intu invested £201m in its centres during the year, including an extension to Intu Lakeside in Essex.
It said its tenants made a “record” combined investment of £144m on new shop fits in 2018.
Chief executive David Fischel said: “With the structural changes going in our industry, we regard it as increasingly important that Intu focuses on centres which rank as the winning destinations where customers love to come, and retailers want to be.
”Alongside the best retail, food and beverage and leisure, we intend to add further mixed-use attractions to these centres in the form of improved public space with more frequent experiences, residential space, hotels and other uses, such as state-of-the-art offices and co-working space.”