Shaftesbury points to West End's "long record of resilience" as it shrugs off Brexit worries with profit rise

Rebecca Smith
Shaftesbury owns holdings across Chinatown, Soho and Covent Garden
Shaftesbury owns holdings across Chinatown, Soho and Covent Garden (Source: Getty)

West End landlord Shaftesbury has been cashing in on flourishing footfall in the area, noting good trading across its locations.

And despite anticipating uncertainty from Brexit, the firm said the West End's resilience should see it through.

Read more: Woah! Chinatown and Carnaby Street could be sold to this billionaire

The figures

The group reported growth in net property income, up four per cent to £43.8m, as well as profit after tax, of £102.4m, up 27.8 per cent from £80.1m, for the six months to the end of March.

Shaftesbury reported a 3.4 per cent rise in net asset value to £2.5bn.

Basic earnings per share were also up by more than a quarter to 36.7p and interim dividend per share of 7.9p, an increase of 10.5 per cent.

Why it’s interesting

The company, with holdings across Chinatown, Carnaby Street and Covent Garden, noted a risk of lower business and consumer confidence with Brexit on the horizon, but is confident the West End’s robustness “underpinned by its wide appeal and dynamic economy” will help shrug off any jitters.

And the weak pound has also proven quite a draw for overseas tourists.

According to ONS stats, London brought in 19.1m visits last year, far outweighing any other town or city in the UK, and setting a record year. Footfall in the West End’s shopping districts was up 2.7 per cent year-on-year in April, according to Springboard and the British Retail Consortium.

The slump in sterling has also been appealing to Hong Kong billionaire Samuel Tak Lee, who has been increasing his stake in Shaftesbury after the fall in the value of the pound following the Brexit vote.

What the company said

Brian Bickell, Shaftesbury’s chief executive, said: "Across our portfolio, the data we collect is showing a clear trend of year-on-year turnover growth for our restaurant, leisure and retail tenants, reflecting the buoyancy of the West End's economy. Occupier demand for these uses, and our office and residential space, is good and vacancy levels remain low.

"Looking ahead, the UK faces a period of uncertainty as it negotiates its exit from the EU. Whilst this brings a risk of lower business and consumer confidence, we expect the West End, underpinned by its wide appeal and dynamic economy, will maintain its long record of resilience."

Our exceptional portfolio, located in its most popular destinations, continues to flourish. With the benefit of our forensic local knowledge and enterprising management, we are confident it will continue to deliver sustained long-term growth in income, capital values and returns to shareholders.

Read more: Shaftesbury hikes dividend after adding to its West London portfolio

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