Intu Properties, owner of shopping centres including the Metrocentre and Trafford Centre, said it expects like-for-like net rental income to increase by 2-3% this year, following an increase in the number of people visiting its centres.
Intu said footfall increased 1.4% for the period from January 1 2015 to May 4 2016, while occupancy reached 95.3% up from 94.3% on the same period a year ago, but slightly down on the 95.8% at December 31 2015.
Intu’s shopping centres saw strong demand from retailers, with 43 new long-term leases agreed, equating to £7m of new annual rent.
During the year, Next agreed to expand its store at Intu Lakeside by 10,000 sq ft, while New Look continued the roll out of its men’s stores across its shopping centres.
It flagged up that is has 10 BHS and Austin Reed units and has “plans for many of these stores should they be vacated”. The two retailers collapsed into administration last month.
David Fischel, chief executive of Intu, said: “Encouragingly we have seen little impact on customer flow into our shopping centres or tenant interest for space which remains very positive despite financial markets being volatile ahead of the EU referendum vote on June 23.
“Global investors continue to look actively at prime regional shopping centres in the UK, focusing on the quality income streams provided by this asset class.”