John Strachan, intu Chairman, commented:
“intu has had a challenging year with a difficult retail and uncertain economic environment, together with responding to two abortive corporate offers for the company. However, our management team has produced a robust operational performance with increased like-for-like net rental income for the fourth consecutive year, 97 per cent occupancy and signed 248 new long-term leases”.
“This outcome is testimony to our long-term strategy of investing in our centres and the intu brand, making them different, attractive and exciting so retailers look to our centres as key trading locations”.
“Our three core objectives for the year ahead are to continue to deliver strong underlying individual centre performance, continue our strategy of adapting to the changing retail environment and to make smart use of capital”.
“We propose to reduce our debt to assets ratio over time back below 50 per cent by further disposals and part-disposals and retaining the cash generated by our activities rather than distributing it as dividend, to enable us to invest in our winning destinations”.
“I would like to thank our strong management team for their dedication and commitment in a difficult economic environment as we focus on making intu centres winning destinations for brands and shoppers.”
David Fischel, intu Chief Executive, commented:
“intu has again delivered a resilient operational performance which demonstrates how our centres differentiate themselves as winning destinations for retailers with their variety and excitement. We own and manage many of the best shopping centres, in some of the strongest locations, in the UK and Spain”
“In a difficult year for the whole UK retail real estate sector and with very limited comparable transactional evidence, property valuations declined as sentiment weakened significantly. We reported a further 3 per cent fall in valuations in the final quarter of 2018, additional to the 9 per cent fall over the first nine months of the year. As a result, EPRA NNNAV at the end of year was 271p per share, down from 349p the year before”.
“Although sentiment in the retail sector is at an all-time low, the reality is that around 400 million shoppers visit our centres each year and occupancy is at 97 per cent. As some 85 percent of all retail transactions still touch a physical store, demand from major retailers continues to be positive for our centres”.
“New tenants to our centres include Abercrombie & Fitch, Uniqlo, Bershka, and Monki, with established retailers such as Next, Primark, Zara and River Island all upsizing. Our tenants invested a record GBP144 million in their stores over the year, a clear indication that these retailers see great physical space as a key part of a successful multichannel strategy.”
Read the full results here: intu Properties Plc – Annual Results