Big Yellow upbeat on bookings despite a muted third quarter

 
Kasmira Jefford
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BIG Yellow, the self-storage provider, said 2013 had started well after a quiet third quarter when occupancy at its warehouses fell following the strong summer months.

The company said total revenue across its 54 stores rose 3.7 per cent to £16.8m in the third quarter to 31 December compared with last year but down 9.7 per cent on the second quarter.

In November the group warned that the introduction of VAT on the self-storage sector on 1 October would weigh down earnings growth in the short term.

Big Yellow passed on just over half the VAT charge to its private customers, a price rise of 10-12 per cent according to analysts.

“The introduction of VAT presented the group with a significant challenge and we are broadly satisfied with the way the business has absorbed this change,” James Gibson, chief executive said yesterday.

The company also saw occupancy fall by four per cent of capacity to 2,171,000 square feet, representing 63.3 per cent of their 3,432,000 sq ft total capacity.

“The third quarter is the seasonally weakest quarter and, when combined with a strong summer of student lets, occupancy is down,” analysts at Peel Hunt said, maintaining a “buy” recommendation on the stock.