Owner of Trinity Leeds reports 'resilient operational performance' over last financial year

LAND SECURITIES GROUP, the company behind the Trinity Leeds shopping centre, today said it had delivered a resilient operational performance and a strong balance sheet over the last financial year.

Landsec's results have been announced to the stock exchange.

The company has released its annual results for the year ended March 31 2020.

The company's chief executive Mark Allan said: "I join Landsec at an extraordinary time. The effects of Covid-19 are accelerating ongoing structural trends across the real estate sector, while its longer-term societal and economic consequences are yet to be determined. Landsec's strong balance sheet and resilient operational performance have enabled us to respond to immediate challenges posed by Covid-19 with speed and decisiveness.

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"Our £80m rent relief fund has offered targeted support to occupiers, alongside broader options of rent deferrals and monthly payments, and our £500,000 of community grants is providing financial assistance to our charity partners.

"I am confident Landsec is approaching the future from a position of strength. We are prepared to be bold in our thinking as we navigate both the challenges and opportunities arising in the long term from changing market trends and will not lose sight of our wider sustainability objectives. We will continue to lead the sector on major issues such as climate change and remain committed to acting as a force for good in the communities in which we operate."

In his statement to accompany the results, Mr Allan said: "This year, Landsec recorded a loss before tax of £837m (2019: £123m) as underlying earnings were more than offset by a fall in the value of our assets, down 8.8% (or £1,179m).

"The majority of the valuation deficit is attributable to our retail segment, which suffered a 20.5% decline over the 12 months as a result of the challenging environment and ongoing structural changes, exacerbated at the year end by the early effects of Covid-19.

"Operationally, Landsec's results were resilient despite persistent uncertainties in some of our core markets. We reported revenue profit of £414m (2019: £442m), equating to adjusted diluted earnings per share of 55.9p (2019: 59.7p), with the majority of the decline (£23m) associated with provisions relating to 2020/21 rent that was invoiced in March and where recoverability is affected by Covid-19."

In a statement to accompany the results, Landsec said: "The effect of Covid-19 on the already struggling retail sector will be significant. Following government action to address the Covid-19 outbreak, most of our shopping centres, outlets and leisure assets have closed save for essential shops.

"Apart from the major supermarkets and some pure online players, few retailers will emerge from Covid-19 in better financial condition than before the virus arrived. Our immediate focus has been to support our customers by reducing costs, agreeing rent relief for those in most need and working to enable them to reopen as soon as conditions allow and restrictions are lifted.

"We also continue to progress the re-purposing of excess space at our assets, notably the residential and office opportunities offered in key cities by our retail destinations."

The statement added: "In regional retail, we continued to improve both tenant mix and experience. Customer data and insight informs our decisions, enabling us to find the right occupiers for customer demand, and the right unit for each occupier.

"At Bluewater, Kent, following Primark opening in March 2019, footfall was up 3.7% and sales at the centre were up 4.9% (excluding automotive sales) for the 48 weeks to 1 March 2020. Zara signed at St David's, Cardiff and are upsizing significantly at Bluewater.

"H&M also took a bigger store at Trinity Leeds. We've also introduced new types of retailer to our centres, adding cycling concept store Peloton at Bluewater and Westgate Oxford."

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