Belfast Telegraph

Sprucefield owner boasts 4% growth despite BHS closure

By Kalyeena Makortoff

Shopping centre owner Intu, which owns Sprucefield Retail Park, has shrugged off the closure of BHS and cheered the strength of the UK's commercial property sector.

In its latest trading update, Intu maintained its growth targets after reporting occupancy rates above 95%. The company said like-for-like net rental income is set to reach 3% to 4% this year.

That is despite the collapse of BHS which resulted in the closure of 10 stores across Intu sites - representing about 1% of shopping centre rents.

It said new letting had more than offset the impact. UK footfall rose by 1.2% between July and October compared with a year earlier, while footfall and retail sales jumped between 2% and 3% at its Spanish locations.

The company also cheered a deal to sell its majority stake in the Intu Bromley shopping centre for £177.9m, marking a 1.1% premium on the June 30 valuation of £175.9m.

It comes despite fears that commercial property prices would fall after the referendum.

Intu said there was no transactional evidence of any effect on prime shopping centres, though sentiment had indicated a small decline in values across many sectors, which included retail property.

Belfast Telegraph