British Land has seen its bet on retail parks help drive the company’s recovery as it posted its first interim profit in four years.

The Meadowhall owner swung to a £370 million profit after tax for the six months to September, following a £730 million loss over the same period last year.

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Simon Carter, chief executive of the business, hailed the “good financial and operational performance”.

He said the property giant was particularly boosted by strong leasing activity, improved rent collection and improving property valuations across its retail park and campus locations.

It comes after a flurry of retail park acquisitions by British Land this year, including the Blackwater site in Farnborough and Thurrock Shopping Park.

This move, which also saw the company buy more warehouse space, represented a shift in strategy to more pandemic-resilient areas of the sector after selling £1 billion worth of offices, supermarkets and shopping centres last year.

British Land told shareholders on Wednesday that it has benefited from £210 million of investment into its retail park operation.

Mr Carter added: “Current market trends reinforce the conviction we have in our strategy, and we are already seeing the benefits of our decision to focus on our unique campus proposition, the value play in retail parks and urban logistics development in London.

“Innovative growth businesses are focused more than ever on the highest quality, most sustainable workspace which we deliver at our campuses.

“We expect the value opportunity in retail parks to continue with rents stabilising and yields moving in.

“We look ahead with confidence in our ability to drive performance from our development, asset management and repositioning skills.”