Footfall picks up again at Capital Shopping

Property group Capital Shopping Centres outperformed the market as the number of shoppers visiting its shopping centres, such as The Trafford Centre and Lakeside, rose for the second quarter in a row.

Property group Capital Shopping Centres outperformed the market as the number of shoppers visiting its shopping centres, such as The Trafford Centre and Lakeside, rose for the second quarter in a row.

"Our prime UK shopping centres have recorded positive momentum with steady footfall figures and the opening of 60 new stores and restaurants in the period," revealed David Fichel, Chief Executive Of Capital Shopping Centres Group (CSC), in an interim management statement covering the three months to the end of September.

"We continue to make good progress on our pipeline of active management projects and extensions which will ensure that our centres continue to provide attractive destinations to consumers and retailers for the long term," he added.

Despite a second consecutive quarterly increase in footfall - customer visits - in the three months to the end of September, CSC's footfall in the first nine months of 2012 is still 1% below the corresponding period of 2011. However, based on figures provided by business information group Experian, that's a market-beating performance, as footfall across the UK is down 3% year-on-year.

Occupancy across CSC's centres in the third quarter edged up to 96% from 95% in the preceding quarter. Retailers going belly-up remains a problem, but the group successfully re-let the majority of the 131 units affected by tenant failures, but 48 units, accounting for 2% of the rent roll, still remain closed in the hands of administrators.

At the end of September net external debt had increased marginally to £3.5bn and the net debt to assets ratio based on June 30th valuations was 49.5%. On a pro forma basis, were the convertible bonds to convert into equity, the net debt to assets ratio would reduce to 45%, the group disclosed.

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