West End property owner Shaftesbury today said sterling’s weakness against the Euro was keeping its shops busy.
The company, which owns £1.1bn of property focussed around London’s Covent Garden, Chinatown and Carnaby Street, said in contrast to the national decline in consumer spending it’s occupiers were trading well.
‘The West End has always attracted substantial numbers of overseas visitors, and continues to do so,’ said a statement to the stock exchange this morning. ‘Their retail and leisure expenditure are important elements of the local economy in this unique area.
‘This year, the weakness of sterling is bringing more visitors from the Euro zone and should also increase the volume of domestic visitors to the West End, as travel to overseas destinations has become relatively more expensive.’
It said it currently has shops with an estimated rental value of £558,000 available to let. However the company also said that a prelet to US retailer Forever 21 of 21,000 sq ft, announced in November last year, had now fallen through.
Looking forward the company said it is expecting to see an increase in vacancies but said it expects the West End’s resilience to mean it’s portfolio is ‘more resilient than others.’
The company has bank borrowings of £473m against committed facilities of £600m.