Hundreds of millions of pounds have been wiped off the value of Britain's largest shopping centres over the past year and the write-downs are set to continue, one of the UK's biggest retail property owners said yesterday. The Times, Daily Telegraph

The warning from Liberty International, the owner of Lakeside in Essex and Covent Garden in Central; London, came as it announced a £345mn writedown to the value of its £8.34bn retail holdings during its first three months' trading this year.

Values of regional high street shops and older retail parks came under pressure a year ago before the onset of the credit crunch, as fears grew that many highly leveraged investors had overpaid for assets where there was little prospect of rental growth.

However, first-quarter figures published yesterday by Liberty show that the declines in values of prime retail property have also been hard hit since the autumn.