Trafford Centre exterior

CSC promises new attractions at Trafford Centre

Manchester Arndale and Trafford Centre owner Capital Shopping Centres said it has signed 42 new leases since the start of the year generating £10m in income.

David Fischel, chief executive of CSC, said: "CSC is determined to provide the best experience to shoppers and to continue to attract leading retailers to our prime regional centres, with 27 new stores opening in the period. While the UK retail environment remains tough, we continue to benefit from last year's transformational Trafford Centre acquisition as we focus on securing the right retailers in the right places paying the right rents with the objective of achieving strong total returns from our assets."

At Trafford Centre, CSC said fashion retailer Forever 21 is to open and Superdry will extend its existing unit. An undisclosed 'major global brand' already trading in several CSC centres is to double its space at Manchester Arndale and to open in Harlequin, Watford, and The Glades, Bromley. Superdry will open in the former HMV store in Manchester Arndale.

CSC said terms have been agreed 'with an operator, subject to planning permission, for a major new leisure attraction at Barton Square, Trafford Centre'.

Occupancy across CSC's centres stands at 94.3%, down 2.4% from 31 December 2011 due to post Christmas tenant administrations and expiry of seasonal lettings.

Fischel added: "As we commented at our 2011 full year results, our focus is on securing the right retailers in the right places paying the right rents with a view to capital appreciation over the medium term. We believe that this robust approach is appropriate for CSC even if it impacts vacancy levels, rental income and void costs in the short term.

"CSC is benefitting from shoppers' and retailers' increasing concentration on the strongest destinations as our interests include ten of the UK's top 25 shopping centres. Retailer demand for larger spaces for flagship stores in the highest footfall locations remains strong, given the very limited shopping centre construction pipeline in the UK."

At 31 March 2012 net external debt has reduced marginally to £3.3bn and the debt to assets ratio was 48%.

Shares in CSC slipped 1p to 323p, valuing the group at £2.8bn.

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