Property giant Land Securities has reported a drop in void rates within its shopping centres in its first quarter as it attracted retailers such as Primark and Gap to its schemes.
The void level on Land Securities’ retail portfolio was 4.1% at June 30, down from 4.5% at March 31.
The UK’s largest developer said retail like-for-like sales in its shopping centre portfolio were down 0.4%, excluding VAT.
Footfall remained flat in the quarter, compared with a 0.2% national decline.
Land Securities said it has reacted to a shortage of supply of retail space by “taking forward smaller development opportunities” to meet demand from food and fashion retailers.
It has identified a £275m, 1 million sq ft, pipeline of schemes to “satisfy this location specific demand”. Land Securities will extend and reconfigure existing assets as well as look at potential new sites.
The developer’s yet-to-open Trinity Leeds scheme is now 54.8% let with 3% in solicitors’ hands.
In Glasgow, of the eight remaining units at 185-221 Buchanan Street, one is in solicitors’ hands and terms agreed on a further four. Forever 21, Paperchase and Gap have already signed for the yet-to-open scheme, which is now 68.7% pre-let by income.
Land Securities chief executive Francis Salway said: “While the quarter has seen a period of uncertainty in the wider economy, our activities show that our plan continues to deliver opportunities for value creation. Despite the mixed messages in the retail sector, our leasing activity demonstrates that the stronger retailers are looking to take new space.
“This retail demand has meant we have over the last few months also begun to step up our activity in retail development predominantly in edge of town locations. Once again, we will look to marry our development expertise with retailer commitment to a scheme before we take these opportunities forward.
“We entered the financial year with a clear plan, and the letting and sales activity we have undertaken in the first quarter underpins our confidence in this plan.”