CSC boosted by Trafford Centre lettings

Trafford Centre owner, Capital Shopping Centres Group, said occupancy levels across its portfolio remains high at 97%.

Within an interim management statement, covering the period from 1 July to 31 October 2011, CSC said a series of openings at the Trafford Centre has further improved the retail offer. M&S and Debenhams opened extensions to its stores, Dune has opened a new flagship store and Banana Republic opened its first stand alone store north of London.

CSC, which also co-owns Manchester's Arndale Centre through a joint venture with Prudential, added that footfall within its centres grew 2% year on year for the 10 months to 31 October.

CSC said after three years of consistent increases, footfall in the four months to 31 October was marginally higher than the strong comparatives from 2010.

CSC said 56 new long term leases were signed in the quarter generating £9m in new rent, which increased its annual passing rent by £3m.

CSC said net external debt was £3.3bn at 30 September 2011 and the net debt to gross assets ratio was 48% based on 30 June 2011 property valuations, unchanged from 30 June 2011 and within CSC's stated target range of 40 to 50%.

David Fischel, chief executive of Capital Shopping Centres Group, said: "As evidenced by a 97 per cent occupancy level, CSC has delivered a robust operational performance in the period in the face of a challenging economic and retail background. CSC remains well positioned through its focus on leading and high quality regional shopping centres in the UK."

CSC has a portfolio of 14 centres representing 16m sq ft of retail space and a valuation of £6.9bn.

CSC's assets also include the Metrocentre in Gateshead, Braehead in Glasgow and The Mall at Cribbs Causeway in Bristol.

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