West End landlord Shaftesbury hails footfall recovery, rising property values
Shaftesbury, the West End property giant that's currently in talks about a merger with Capco, has reported what might be its last set of results before the merger is announced with the company saying that its portfolio value grew in the latest half year.
The landlord owns extensive properties covering 16 acres in London, including the important Carnaby neighbourhood and Seven Dials/Covent Garden. It said it has seen a “strong recovery in footfall and spending [plus] sustained occupier demand across all uses”.
In the six months to the end of March, net property income rose 55.1% year-on-year to £41.1 million and it saw an 11.5% like-for-like increase in rental income. Profit after tax was £247.6 million after a loss of £338.5 million a year earlier. The increase was primarily due to £232.9 million of revaluation gains and the improved net property income. And the company reported net assets of £2.605 billion, up 9.8% on the year.
The rebound in footfall is hugely important for the business and it said that it's continuing to improve, “building during the week, peaking at weekends”, with a growing numbers of international tourists. The central section of the Elizabeth Line transport link is scheduled to open to passengers Tuesday, with a full service expected by spring 2023, and this should boost footfall even further.
Its occupiers are also reporting growing turnover and monthly sales are now on average 7% ahead of pre-pandemic levels, although retail is up only 4% with hospitality and leisure performing much better.
It completed leasing transactions with a rental value of £18.9 million during the latest period and rent collections continued to improve with 95% of invoiced rents for the period now collected. Its retail properties have also seen a valuation increase of 7.1%. And overall, more than one third of the 26.6% decline in the portfolio valuation during the pandemic has been recovered over past 12 months. Its valuation is now only 16.9% below September 2019 on a like-for-like basis.
CEO Brian Bickell said: “The continuing strong rebound in the West End economy since the lifting of pandemic restrictions last summer has continued throughout the period.
“Although Covid concerns are receding, new challenges are now coming to the fore, both in the UK and in many other economies, exacerbated by macroeconomic and political issues. Whilst London and the West End cannot be completely sheltered from these headwinds, their global status, appeal and broad-based, dynamic economies should provide a considerable degree of protection, which few other locations can match.
“With the prospect of an extended period of uninterrupted trading as we enter the important summer season, further enhanced by the improving outlook for international leisure and business travel, the revival in confidence and growth we are now seeing is already providing a firm foundation for the return to long-term prosperity for the West End and our exceptional portfolio.”
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