Meadowhall bosses confident of beating decline

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MEADOWHALL’S part owner is bucking a national trend for declining retail rents – with the average rental value of its retail properties rising 0.7 per cent in the year to March 31.

British Land, which owns 50 per cent of the Sheffield shopping centre, said it is ‘confident’ demand for space in its shopping centres will continue despite shop closures around the country.

Sluggish consumer spending has prompted hundreds of high street store closures, led by Mothercare, which is shutting 110 shops, Oddbins and HMV. Mothercare, which has branches around South Yorkshire, has not yet revealed which stores are to shut.

But British Land’s chief executive Chris Grigg said his company could benefit from closures by negotiating higher rents with new tenants.

He said: “We would expect to be able to replace those units. But if you’re in secondary, lower-quality retail space, the departure of Mothercare will be pretty brutal.

“We feel optimistic for the future. We’re invested in the right sectors – high-quality retail and central London offices – and we’ve seen rising rental values in both. The stories around retail are pretty tough but retailers are prepared to come to the right places.”

British Land reported a 2.8 per cent rise in underlying profits before tax to £256m.