Hammerson upbeat on signs of UK recovery

 
Kasmira Jefford
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HAMMERSON, the Anglo-French property firm that owns shopping centres including London’s Brent Cross, said it had seen a pick-up in overseas retailers looking to launch in the UK in a sign of returning confidence in the market.
Chief executive David Atkins said despite the continued squeeze on household budgets, macro-economic conditions were showing encouraging signs of improvement. “We have seen a definite uptick in new international demand looking more tactically at general business confidence improving in the UK,” he said.
The retail-focused real estate investment trust (REIT) said like-for-like net rental income increased by 2.5 per cent to £140.4m in the six months to 30 June, driven by strong performances across its UK malls, from Brent Cross to Union Square in Aberdeen.
Earnings per share were up 8.8 per cent to 11.1p in the period while its adjusted net asset value per share was 551p, up from 542p six months earlier.
The group also revealed it has injected a further £78m into Value Retail’s European designer outlet villages, including its first direct investment in the Parisian outlet La Vallee Village.
Hammerson has been stepping up its exposure to Value Retail (the owner of Bicester Village), in which it now has a 23 per cent stake and accounts for 15 per cent of its net asset value.
Meanwhile it said plans to create a £1bn retail scheme in Croydon with joint venture partner Westfield were “progressing well”, with planning approval expected in the autumn.