Strong trading update at Intu amid increasing consumer confidence

Shopper numbers and interest from retailers is on the up at Intu, the owners North East shopping complexes Eldon Square and the Metrocentre

The Qube quadrant at the Metrocentre, owned by Intu

Development firm Intu – the owners of the Metrocentre and Eldon Square shopping centres in the North East – have announced footfall across its portfolio is up 1% for the period January 1 to May 8.

The firm was updating shareholders on the London Stock Exchange in its trading update for the period, detailing how occupancy remains high at 95%.

During the period the firm, which owns and operates 12 of the UK’s top 25 shopping complexes, acquired 2 more top 25 UK shopping centres in a transaction worth £868m, funded by £500m rights issue and asset-specific debt facilities.

A total of 50 new long term leases have also been agreed for £8m new annual rent, 5% up on previous passing rent.

David Fischel, chief executive, said: “We are delighted to have concluded such a significant transaction, reinforcing our position as the leading owner, developer and manager of top UK shopping centres, with intu Derby and intu Merry Hill increasing our national coverage of branded centres.

“Investor interest in quality UK shopping centres has strengthened in the period.

“The strong momentum of our development projects

continues, with signs of increased retailer interest as the UK retail environment continues to improve, particularly for space in those centres where investment and improvement projects are underway or imminent.”

“The UK retail environment has continued to improve, with another quarter of positive like-for-like non food sales, a fifth consecutive quarter of GDP growth and improving consumer confidence with the first above-inflation rise in wages for several years.

“We are beginning to see areas of increased interest from retailers, including for new brands and flagship stores, particularly in centres where we have been or have plans for investing.”

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