Leeds Victoria Gate owners report ‘collapse in profits’

Victoria Gate, Leeds
Victoria Gate, Leeds
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The owner of Leeds’s Victoria Gate shopping centre has seen a collapse in its profits after booking heavy losses on the value of its property portfolio.

Hammerson, which also owns the Victoria Quarter in the city as well as nationally-renowned retail venues like the Bullring in Birmingham, said full year pre-tax profit fell 56% to £322.8 million due to what it called “lower revaluation gains on the group’s shopping centres and retail parks”.

In the UK, its shopping centre values fell by £6 million and retail parks by £118 million, with Hammerson saying £39 million of this was due to the increase in stamp duty.

It also pointed the finger at transfer taxes in Paris and “weak trading” at its French operation.

Without taking into account the change in valuations, adjusted profit rose 9.4 per cent to £230.7 million.

Chief executive David Atkins flagged “UK retail headwinds and geopolitical uncertainty” but struck an otherwise upbeat note.

The opening of Victoria Gate signals an upturn in the fortunes of Leeds.

The opening of Victoria Gate signals an upturn in the fortunes of Leeds.

“During the year we have significantly grown and enhanced the portfolio, adding new retail space in faster-growth markets including Dublin, Leeds and Birmingham, and extending our presence in the European outlets market.

“Despite some UK retail headwinds and geopolitical uncertainty, I am confident that we have a resilient and adaptable business with multiple opportunities to drive similar levels of growth and therefore continue to deliver sector-leading income-focused returns.”

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