Capital Shopping Centres upbeat on prospects for malls

The Trafford Centre in Manchester CSC recently added Manchester's Trafford Centre to its 13 other UK shopping centres

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Capital Shopping Centres (CSC), the largest operator of UK shopping malls, has said it is upbeat about prospects despite weak consumer confidence.

CSC - which owns the Trafford Centre and Lakeside, Thurrock - said prime retail spots such as its centres were set to do better than other locations.

Its comments came as it reported a 2% rise in like-for-like net rental income for 2010.

Annual pre-tax profits were £446.2m, against a loss of £119.5m in 2009.

Chief executive David Fischel said CSC's main focus this year would be to continue increasing rental income rather than chasing further acquisitions.

CSC said there was potential for rental income to increase by up to 18% if new lettings replaced old leases at the current market rates.

Bid tussle

In January this year, CSC bought Manchester's Trafford Centre for £863m, taking the number of shopping malls it owns in the UK to 14.

CSC said it needed to integrate the Trafford Centre, which it bought after a prolonged tussle with one of its shareholders, Simon Property.

Simon Property dropped plans to mount a bid for CSC in January.

CSC chairman Patrick Burgess said it was "clear that business in the UK faces a series of challenges over the next couple of years and retailers and consumers remain cautious".

"What is clear is that this environment is not affecting all retail property equally," he added.

"The strongest destinations are growing stronger as UK retail trade continues to concentrate. Prime destinations such as CSC's centres with strong leisure and catering offerings are key locations for retailers' flagship stores."

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