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British Land profits slump 29% in half-year results

British Land has reported that underlying profit slumped 29.6% to £107m in its latest half-year results, down from £152m the prior year, attributable to the impact of Covid-19 on the retail sector.

Simon Carter, incoming CEO of British Land said the results reflected the “challenges” in retail against the backdrop of Covid-19.

Looking ahead, he suggested that the firm’s main focus would now be on “active asset management”, as well as the continued work to maximise rent collection and keep units occupied with “successful” retailers.

He added that there is a “clear preference” from shoppers and retailers for “out of town”, open air retail parks.

The group said an additional approach was to focus on “attractive asset mix means”, as prior to the November lockdown, it saw a “significant outperformance” on footfall and retailer sales and a “steady” improvement in rent collection levels.

Going forward, Carter claims the firm needs “four clear priorities”, which include: realising the potential of mixed use; progressing value accretive development; addressing the “challenges” in retail; and active capital recycling.

Chris Grigg, CEO of British Land said: “I am immensely proud of what we have achieved in my time at British Land.

“Today, despite the unprecedented situation brought about by Covid, our business is more financially resilient, our focus on mixed use London campuses is clear and we have an unrivalled pipeline of opportunities.”

He added: “We are closer to our customers and our expertise in creating and managing space that reflects their needs has never been more important. Under Simon’s leadership the business is well placed to build on these advantages, navigate the short term challenges and thrive in the long term.”

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