London’s iconic West End has enjoyed a “strong recovery” in footfall and spending following the end of lockdowns as deep-pocketed shoppers flocked back to physical stores.
Shaftesbury, the property giant that owns a 16.4-acre portfolio in the popular luxury shopping hub, said average monthly sales for its retailers are now 6 percent ahead of pre-pandemic levels from 2019.
“The year has seen a rapid rebound in the West End economy as Covid-related disruption receded and patterns of everyday activity returned to pre-pandemic normality,” Shaftesbury CEO Brian Bickell said in a statement.
He added that “the sustained recovery in footfall and trading since the early months of 2022 has been matched by the strength of occupier demand in our carefully curated and popular locations”.
Shaftesbury posts full-year profit
The company reported a 28 percent increase in net property income to 82.8 million pounds in the year to September 30, while it swung to a post-tax profit of 119.1 million pounds from a loss of 194.9 million pounds a year earlier.
The return to profit was primarily thanks to a 99.5 million pound revaluation gain compared to a 196.9 million pound revaluation deficit the prior year, as well as an increase in net property income.
Those factors were slightly offset by one-off costs associated with its proposed merger with Capital & Counties Properties.
For the whole year, Shaftesbury’s wholly-owned portfolio valuation rose 3.6 percent to 3.2 billion pounds. But over the second half, its valuation dropped 3.6 percent.
Bickell said: “Although London and the West End cannot be immune from the unprecedented range of challenges which are now dominating the national outlook, their long-term prospects remain bright, thanks to their enduring appeal to global, domestic and local visitors, businesses and investors, their dynamic economies and ability to attract talent and creativity from across the world.”
“These features are mirrored in the locations in which we invest and, together with our proven, innovative management strategy and our experienced and enthusiastic team, reinforce our confidence in the long-term potential of our exceptional portfolio.”