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Shaftesbury posts six-month loss of £338.5m but is “well placed to return to long-term growth”

Tom Bottomley
26 May 2021

London landlord Shaftesbury has reported a six-month loss after tax of £338.5m to 31 March, 2021, a decrease “primarily due to £342.6m of revaluation deficits,” and a 19.4% like-for-like decrease in rental income.

Despite challenging times, with the pandemic restrictions continuing to have a material impact on the results for the first half of the financial year, the company, which has a portfolio across 16 acres in London’s West End, including in Carnaby, Seven Dials, Chinatown, Soho, Covent Garden and Fitzrovia, remains upbeat after seeing footfall and spending recovering.

Shaftesbury CEO Brian Bickell, said: “After more than a year of unprecedented disruption, a revival in the West End's broad-based economy is now underway. Since the start of reopening 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. Forecasts point to a sharp rebound in the UK economy but there remains the risk that the recovery could encounter delays and setbacks in the period ahead.

“We expect occupier demand to improve further as businesses seek to locate in our lively, holistically-curated villages. Importantly, the inherent flexibility in our portfolio, and our culture of innovation, will ensure we can continue to adapt our buildings to meet the fast-changing expectations of our occupiers. Growing footfall, prosperity and occupier demand will improve our cash income and earnings and stabilise investment yields.

“As the global pandemic recedes, we are confident that the unique appeal and features of London and the West End will continue to attract businesses and visitors on a scale matched by few other cities, underpinning the long-term resilience and prospects of our portfolio. With our proven, ever-evolving strategy, guided by our experienced, enthusiastic and entrepreneurial team, and supported by a strong financial base, Shaftesbury is well placed to return to sustainable long-term growth.”

A gradual return of the local working population in the West End is expected to gather pace after 21 June, when the restrictions are scheduled to be significantly eased further. However, the material recovery in international travel is not expected to begin until later next year though Shaftsbury does expect a significant rise in UK domestic tourists and locals in the West End.

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