Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Shopping Mall Operator Boosted by Rent Revenues; RETAIL

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Shopping Mall Operator Boosted by Rent Revenues; RETAIL

Article excerpt

Byline: TOM KEIGHLEY tom.keighley@ncjmedia.co.uk

METROCENTRE and Eldon Square operators Intu Properties Plc saw pre-tax profits rise to PS593.7m from PS363,4m, on the back of raised rental incomes.

The British firm, which runs many of the country's largest shopping centres, saw net rental income rise from PS356.2m to PS362.6m in the year to the end of December.

Intu remained positive about demand from retailers up until 2019, as new shopping centre space remained at an all-time low in 2014. The outlook for consumer spending in the year ahead also looked positive as low inflation was coupled with resilience in the labour market.

Plans to spend PS25m on the forthcoming 'Grey's Quarter' restaurant zone in Eldon Square were said to be progressing, with more than 50% of space exchanged or in solicitors' hands. Intu said it anticipated work to start on the 20-restaurant project in the first half of this year.

During the period long leases were signed with Mexican restaurant chain Chiquito and American diner concept Coast to Coast at the Metrocentre. An PS18m extension to the Qube dining area at Metrocentre is expected to open in early 2016, featuring both chains.

The Metrocentre, which currently has an unaudited market value of PS928.1m, was said to have benefited from the strong yield improvement, but suffered short-term income reductions as a result of the redevelopment works.

David Fischel, chief executive of Intu Properties plc, said: "Intu's improved 2014 results demonstrate we are well-positioned to benefit further from rising consumer confi-dence and strengthening demand from retailers for quality space.

"As the UK's leading owner and manager of prime regional shopping centres, we welcome more than 400 million customer visits through our centres each year and our clear focus on delivering outstanding customer experience under the Intu brand is proving a powerful factor in the successful performance of our centres. …

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