Hammerson confirms talks over possible sale of Victoria Gate and Victoria Quarter shopping centres in Leeds for £120m
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Victoria Gate, which Hammerson opened in October 2016, forms part of the Victoria Leeds shopping destination.
The £165m Victoria Gate centre has been praised for transforming the retail scene in Leeds. Within a year of its opening, Victoria Gate had transported the city to third in the UK’s retail rankings.
Within the first week of trading in October 2016 there had been half a million customers at Victoria Gate’s 23 shops, within six months this figure had risen to four million. Footfall across the whole of the Victoria Estate increased by around 14 per cent over this period.
Anchored by John Lewis’s first store in the city, the arcades are also home to a range of brands including Space NK, Kiehl’s, Neom and L’Occitane.
Other luxury brands at Victoria Leeds include Jo Malone, Ted Baker, Paul Smith and Kurt Geiger.
Victoria Gate was named as Best Shopping Centre at the MIPIM Awards 2017, which were held at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes.
In a statement, Hammerson, said it noted recent press speculation and added: "Hammerson's strategy remains to realign the portfolio to focus on prime urban estates through disposals of non-core assets, to strengthen the balance sheet, and to re-cycle capital into its core portfolio and its development pipeline.
"The company confirms that it is in discussions with entities related to Redical Holdings AG on terms for a possible sale of its Victoria Gate and Victoria Quarter shopping centres.
"There can be no certainty that a transaction will take place, but the company confirms the pricing under discussion is £120m, which would represent a class 2 transaction. The company will provide a further announcement if appropriate."
In October, Victoria Gate owner Hammerson revealed the number of shoppers heading to its sites had improved to between 15 per cent and 20 per cent below pre-Covid levels.
But the commercial property owner, which also operates the Birmingham Bullring and London’s Brent Cross, said despite the numbers still being below pandemic levels, all rents must be paid, adding: “We do not anticipate granting future concessions and all avenues to collect rents due are being pursued.”
Hammerson has been weighed down by dwindling valuations for retail properties in recent years.
It told investors in August that its short-term priority is to sell non-core parts of its real estate portfolio. The group said any sale would help to strengthen its balance and enable it to “recycle capital for investment”.
Hammerson sold its remaining retail parks operation as part of its disposal programme.