retail gateway: Autumn 2016 opening date for the Victoria

Artist's impression of Victoria Gate in Leeds
Artist's impression of Victoria Gate in Leeds
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The developer of the £150m Victoria Gate retail scheme in Leeds posted a 5.7 per cent rise in full-year net asset value yesterday and said its shopping malls are trading well.

Shopping centre landlord Hammerson, whose existing shopping malls include the Bullring in Birmingham and Italie Deux in Paris, said like-for-like rental income grew by 2.1 per cent over the year.

Its shopping centres reported 97.7 per cent occupancy, beating Hammerson’s occupancy benchmark of 97 per cent.

Hammerson expects to open its Victoria Gate city centre mall in autumn 2016.

The company believes the Victoria Gate development will turn Leeds into the third biggest shopping destination in England.

The site will help the city move from sixth place in the retail league table to third, behind London and Birmingham.

At the moment Leeds is in sixth place, but the opening of the £350m Trinity Leeds scheme last March is expected to propel Leeds into fourth place.

Hammerson said the new development will enable Leeds to leapfrog Manchester to take the number three slot once it opens in 2016.

Hammerson’s chief executive David Atkins said: “We have reported a good set of results in a year when we saw the beginning of economic and consumer recovery in the UK.

“In France, the economic picture is less clear cut, although personal debt levels remain low, providing the opportunity for a rebound in consumer spending when growth returns.”

The firm raised its final dividend by eight per cent to 10.8p.

Large shopping centres that dominate their catchment area have managed to attract shoppers through the economic downturn, defying the spending slowdown that plagued the wider retail sector.

Ha mmerson is now exclusively a retail developer after completing the sale of the remainder of its office properties.

Analyst Mike Prew, at Jefferies, said: “There were no surprises in these consensual figures, just relief that the consumer recovery is percolating down into shopping space pricing for the better malls.”

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