UPDATE 2-Designer bargain outlets help Hammerson beat rival Intu

Fri Mar 1, 2013 4:10am EST
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By Tom Bill

LONDON, March 1 (Reuters) - Retail landlord Hammerson had a better 2012 than rival Intu Properties, due to wealthy tourists hunting for bargains at its designer outlet villages and because of its stronger development pipeline.

Net asset value at Hammerson was up 2.3 percent to 542 pence ($8.23) per share at the end of 2012 versus a 1 pence rise to 392p at Intu, Hammerson said on Friday.

Its Value Retail arm, in which it has a 22 percent stake and which includes the Bicester Village designer outlet centre in central England and La Vallée Village in Paris, rose in value by 18 percent.

"Everyone likes a bargain, especially in a recession," said Hammerson Chief Executive David Atkins on a conference call with journalists.

"There has been very strong growth in tourism from Russia, the Far East and Latin America. These are people who ordinarily shop at Bond Street but who jump on the train to Bicester to get world-famous brands at a discount of 50 or 60 percent."

Hammerson, whose malls include the Bullring in Birmingham, Brent Cross in London and Italie 2 in Paris, trades at a discount to net asset value of about 7 percent versus 12 percent at Intu.

On Wednesday Intu, whose malls include the Trafford Centre in Manchester and Lakeside in southern England, announced an unchanged dividend and its fourth equity raising in as many years to fund the acquisition of a mall in Milton Keynes for 250.1 million pounds.   Continued...