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Shaftesbury says West End revival is underway


Shaftesbury PLC (LON:SHB) said it was seeing an encouraging increase in demand for space and lettings in London’s West End since shops started to reopen on 12 April.

Leasing activity over the six months to 31 March 2021 recovered to close to the level seen in the first half of last year, which was largely unaffected by the pandemic, the property owner said in a statement alongside its interim results.

First-half results reflected the problems caused by the pandemic with losses rising to £338.5mln (£287.6mln) following a £342.6mln property value writedown.

The state is now worth £2.8bn or a 10.1% like-for-like decrease with most of the reduction centred on retail and hospitality outlets.

 Brian Bickell, chief executive, added that after a year of disruption a revival in the West End is underway.

“Since the start of re-opening on 12 April, we are seeing an encouraging increase in demand for space and lettings and a return of footfall and spending across our locations.

We expect occupier demand to improve further as businesses seek to locate in our lively, holistically-curated villages.

Growing footfall, prosperity and occupier demand will improve our cash income and earnings and stabilise investment yields.

An interim dividend is restored at 2.4p, while cash and liquidity at the end of the period was £337mln.


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