Shopping centre owner Hammerson cut its losses for the past year as it was bolstered by more than £500 million worth of sales and rebounding rental demand.
The Brent Cross shopping centre operator said it has seen “tangible results” since shifting its strategy and disposing of significant assets following the heavy toll of the pandemic.
In 2021, it sold a raft of sites including its entire UK retail park business for £330 million and the Silverburn shopping centre near Glasgow for around £140 million.
The group revealed it cut its net debts by 18% to £1.8 billion by the end of the year and stressed it has “more to do” as part of the strategy.
It came as Hammerson reported that adjusted earnings increased by 122% to £81 million for 2021 as income improved, while losses narrowed to £429 million from £1.7 billion in the previous year amid property revaluations.
Footfall recovery was “strong” across all its territories when restrictions relaxed, the company added.
It also highlighted a strong demand for prime retail space, with the leasing value of its flagship sites rising by 150% against the previous year to £25 million.
Rita-Rose Gagne, chief executive of Hammerson, said: “The pandemic has accelerated trends in our operating environment, with people engaging with physical space in new ways.
“Our role is to create and curate relevant, appealing and sustainable spaces for the future.
“We are already seeing the tangible results from our strategy, with strong occupier leasing demand, reduced vacancies, improved collections, a lower cost base and clear path to value creation from our land bank.”
Industry analysts said the figures showed improvement across the business but highlighted that more is still needed to be done.
“Full-year 2021 results show signs of capital value stabilisation, but there is still a long way to go to rebuild the business,” commented analysts at Liberum.
Shares in Hammerson moved 0.4% higher in early trading.