Retail green light

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Work on Sheffield’s new retail quarter will start earlier than had been planned, but the scheme will be smaller, says developer Hammerson.

The London-based developer says the multimillion pound Sevenstone scheme will have the same footprint as origingally planned, but will create 60,500 square metres of retail and leisure space - around three quarters of the 80,000 square metres originally planned.

“Obviously, the economic climate has changed, but we are confident about the retail market for Sheffield city centre,” said Hammerson’s chief investment officer, Peter Cole.

“It is effectively the same development area, but slightly less intensive.”

Hammerson says it will now hold talks with retailers and the City Council with the aim of submitting a revised planning application in the first six months of next year and starting on site in 2013.

Hammerson unveiled the revised plans for Sevenstone as it announced its results for the six months to the end of June, which showed profit before tax down by 42.6 per cent at £192.8 million although like-for-like net rental income grew by 3.9 per cent, with occupancy rates for group schemes ahead of target at 97.2 per cent.

Chief executive David Atkins said: “These results show continued momentum in our business.”

The company has increased its dividend by 2.1 per cent from 7.15p to 7.3p a share for the first six months of the year.