Chief Executive's review

intu focuses solely on regional shopping centres both here in the UK and those we are developing and improving in Spain

View our 2016 annual results

Our aim is to continue to advance a high-quality and sustainable business that is resilient and well-placed to create long-term value, in the face of changes in the global and national economy and structural changes in retail.

We have made considerable progress in 2016 on our strategic priorities. The core business is performing well and has strong momentum, with many projects due to start in 2017.

We have delivered 6 per cent growth in underlying earnings per share to 15.0 pence, driven by a 3.6 per cent growth in like-for-like net rental income from increased rental levels, improved occupancy and the positive outcome of our recent redevelopment work.

Net asset value per share (diluted, adjusted) has been stable at 404 pence, with overall like-for-like property values unchanged in the year. At 31 December 2016, we had cash and available facilities of £922 million, giving us considerable financial flexibility.

"With our focus on compelling customer experiences and family-friendly day-out destinations, we are continuing to meet the demands of the changing retail world, with increased footfall and occupancy."

David Fischel
intu Chief Executive

Strategic priorities for 2017

Our focus in 2017 will be on our four main goals which we believe will result in strong total returns over the medium term:

  • Optimising asset performance
  • Delivering UK developments
  • Making the brand count
  • Seizing the growth opportunity in Spain

Increased focus on the best in class

With the disposal of intu Bromley and completion of our exit from the US on favourable terms, we have continued the process of recycling capital into our super prime regional centres, acquiring the remaining 50 per cent of intu Merry Hill and progressing development projects at other key centres.

Owning 100 per cent of intu Merry Hill allows us to advance the many improvement opportunities more rapidly and due to its size the returns should be meaningful. The first steps are already underway through taking back the former Sainsbury’s store to facilitate sizeable re-tenanting transactions.

The intu difference

Our strategic priorities are underpinned by what we call the intu difference. This is shorthand for what differentiates us from other retail landlords. It is how we combine our scale, expertise and insight to create compelling experiences for our customers which in turn deliver good results for our retailers and value for our shareholders and other stakeholders.

Prime centres for quality retailers

The strong growth this year in like-for-like net rental income, following the positive outcome in 2015, is a reflection of our overall approach over the last few years – investing in our prime centres and focusing on getting the right tenants in the right place, paying the right rent, and removing poorer quality tenants and undesirable short-term lets.

Retailers understand the intu difference and appreciate how we deliver customers consistently to our high-footfall locations. They recognise these are locations where they really need to have a presence. The pulling power of our centres has been illustrated in 2016 with key fashion retailers upsizing and making an increased long-term investment, with the likes of Next, Primark, Inditex, H&M and New Look all increasing their store sizes and overall presence in our centres.

We are continuously improving the look of our centres for both retailers and customers. Occupancy is high, and as a result income has been growing and valuations have been stable in an uncertain investment market.

Strengthening our fortresses

We are on site with our extension of intu Watford which will transform the centre into a major regional offering and we have opened two new restaurant redevelopments at intu Eldon Square and intu Metrocentre, which give customers reasons to stay for longer. Both these restaurant developments have delivered good financial returns.

Looking forward to 2017, we have three large projects to get underway: the redevelopment of intu Broadmarsh in Nottingham, the leisure extension at intu Lakeside and the enclosure and extension of Barton Square at intu Trafford Centre.

Delivering a multichannel solution

We are seeing substantial benefits from the brand, starting with intu Experiences, which is now generating over £20 million of income a year, equal to our eighth biggest shopping centre. This includes promotions across multiple centres with global brands such as 20th Century Fox, Mercedes Benz and Nespresso.

Our online shopping platform has shown a marked improvement in the year with strong growth in revenue and traffic on as the number of shoppable retailers has increased. We have continued to develop the website, further enhancing the experience and continually reinforcing the advantage we get from the national intu brand, something not available to our competitors.

All this is evidenced by the growing awareness of the intu brand, recognition of which, on an unprompted basis, has risen strongly in the year to over 20 per cent of UK shoppers surveyed.

Performing strongly in a recovering Spanish economy

Our two existing centres are performing well. At intu Asturias, the new restaurant terrace has been well received and with the centre effectively full we are starting a project to create more units from space not previously lettable. Puerto Venecia in Zaragoza has achieved some good lettings, including Globo and Fnac, which have pushed up occupancy to 97 per cent.

We have entered an exclusivity agreement to acquire the 153,000 sq m Xanadú shopping centre in Madrid. Should this transaction complete, we would then own three of Spain’s top-10 centres.

Finally, at intu Costa del Sol we are closing in on the final piece of planning to allow us to start this project and move further forward with our aim of having the best regional centre in five or more of the top-10 shopping regions in Spain in the next five to seven years.

Being a good corporate citizen

Trust in business is vital and good corporate citizenship is engrained in our culture, in how we treat our colleagues, how we operate our centres and how we deal with our customers.

We have a diverse workforce. We have always embraced the principle of a national living wage and we do not operate zero-hours contracts. 

We also believe the intu name should be a kite mark for the sort of centre you want in your city and we are very active in the communities in which we operate.

A culture of success

Our culture is driven by a single-minded purpose to provide people with their perfect shopping experience

Find out more

Outlook for 2017

The environment for business is likely to be challenging as the full impact emerges of the UK’s EU referendum vote but we are soundly positioned as we concentrate on top-quality assets in prime locations with high occupancy and strong footfall.

Our strategy for 2017 remains unchanged in terms of relentless focus on improving our centres and overall business performance. We intend to deliver continued growth in like-for-like net rental income and we reiterate that we expect this to be in the 0 to 2 per cent range for 2017, subject to no material tenant failures, down in the first half against the strong 2016 comparative and up in the second half year. This includes an adverse impact of some 2 per cent from units being held for redevelopment and from the full year impact of BHS closures.

David Fischel
intu Chief Executive