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Operational review by Mark Whittaker

Executive Director of Property Investment & Management

Investment activity across the retail sector returned with much positivity resulting in sharpening of yields by as much as 200 bps over the 12-month period. This provided a valuation increase taking the core valuation up to £387m excluding the two Outlet centres. 

The retail park sector provided exceptional financial stability throughout the pandemic lockdown with tenants continuing to trade convenience goods, this along with wider macro market factors resulted in a resurgence of funds into the sector. 

Occupier and leasing activity was also extremely buoyant with nine new store openings and a further 14 transactions in legals, occupier levels remained stable at over 90% from the 1.7m sq ft portfolio. 

The year presented itself with several opportunistic property investment sales which we took full advantage of whilst continuing to focus our strategy to deploy and recycle funds into new opportunities via strategic acquisitions and new developments, maximising total property return. 

Following the acquisition of Barton Square in April 2021, the team rebranded the centre as Trafford Palazzo and took back management control from the previous owners, creating a much-improved customer service experience with cost savings. In addition, the team concluded on five new lettings during the year of over 50,000 sq ft. 

The Bridgewater Canal continued to perform exceptionally well providing a positive variance to budget of 17% whilst also offering a vast array of exciting new environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives.

The launch of Trafford Palazzo spanned a two day event with free shows and activities for families to enjoy

"Occupier and leasing activity was extremely buoyant with nine new store openings and a further 14 transactions in legals."

The Bridgewater Canal continues to be a thriving place for the community to enjoy a range of activities

The key highlights were as follows:

330,000 sq ft

Trafford Palazzo (formerly Barton Square) acquisition, providing 330,000 sq ft of premium retail and leisure space adjacent to The Trafford Centre

£63.6m

7 separate individual retail park sales totalling £63.6m

£3.2m pa

17 new lettings completed, 5 rent reviews and 4 lease renewals providing rent of £3.2m pa


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