Shares in Local Shopping Reit, the only listed company that specialises in letting shops to this end of the market, dived 18p to 90p after it slashed its dividend from that promised at its flotation a year ago. It blamed the credit crunch, saying it needed to preserve cash. The value of its properties let to 2,000 small shopkeepers fell by 15% to £129m in the six months to March 31, equivalent to 138p a share.

The Times