Developer Land Securities reported a strong third quarter across its portfolio, including a successful festive period at its Wearside shopping complex The Bridges.
The firm, which has a series of developments across the UK, issued an interim statement for its third quarter, citing high levels of activity across its business.
It has also started work on another two developments in a buoyant London market following a lift in confidence, committing to £243m in new developments – an office scheme at 1 New Street Square and work at 20 Eastbourne Terrace near Paddington station.
Occupancy across its portfolios has improved, with £5.4m of investment lettings signed since October 1 last year and a further £500,000 of lettings in solicitors’ hands.
Closer to home, the Bridges saw high footfall over Christmas and work is continuing to encourage in new retailers.
Gerald Jennings, Land Securities’ portfolio director responsible for the Bridges, said: “Christmas definitely gave the team at the Bridges something to cheer about. The festive shopping period was evident from mid-November and the malls were busy up until close on Christmas Eve.
“As in previous years, loyal shoppers queued for the Next sale from the early hours and our retailers delivered impressive sales to keep bargain hunters coming back for more.
“Our mix of retailers meant that many different sectors performed well but it was jewellery, health and beauty, and men’s fashion that were the overall winners of 2013.
“We are always looking to bring new retailers to Sunderland and keep the diversity of our retailers fresh and current, to serve our loyal shopping base of 20 million annual visitors.
“Foot Locker was a key arrival in 2013, and joined leading high street retailers and international brands such as Superdry, Krispy Kreme, Disney, The Entertainer, Debenhams, JD Sport, Topshop, Lush, River Island and Caffe Nero,
“The centre management team also runs a year-round events programme to keep shoppers returning to the centre and to give retailers further platforms to interact with their customers.
“Key events in 2013 included an indoor beach, the installation of a full size replica Supermarine Spitfire in Central Square and an after-hours Student Lock-In event, all of which successfully increased footfall to the centre.”
In November the firm said a revaluation of its real estate base helped it boost half-year profits to £397.9m.
The also more than trebled pre-tax profits in the six months ended September 30 2013, compared to the same period in 2012.