Metrocentre and Eldon Square operators Intu Properties Plc saw pre-tax profits rise to £593.7m in 2014, 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 £356.2m to £362.6m in the year to the end of December.
Intu’s chief executive, David Fischel, said the firm was set to benefit from rising consumer confidence and demand from retailers.
In Newcastle, plans to spend £25m 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 Chiquitos and American diner concept Coast to Coast, at Metrocentre. An £18m extension to the ‘Qube’ dining area at the Gateshead mall is expected to open in early 2016, featuring both chains.
Metrocentre, which currently has an unaudited market value of £928.1m, 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 confidence and strengthening demand from retailers for quality space.
“As the UK’s leading owner and manager of prime regional shopping centres, we welcome over 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.
“Following excellent acquisitions both in the UK and Spain in the last few years, we also look to the organic growth opportunity from driving forward our £1.9bn development programme.”
Plans for developments across Intu’s portfolio, including properties in Spain, amounted to £1.9bn.
The firm’s dividend per share remained at 13.7p.