David Fischel, Chief Executive of intu properties plc, commented:
"We are pleased to report a strong set of results for 2015 with a 7 per cent increase in underlying earnings per share and a 4 per cent revaluation surplus taking investment properties to £9.6 billion. Particularly encouraging was the return to like-for-like growth in net rental income, the result of quality lettings in aggregate 10 per cent ahead of previous passing rent, improved occupancy at 96 per cent and benefits from our investment programme with projects successfully concluded in 2015 in Nottingham, Newcastle and Stoke-on-Trent.
As economic recovery spreads out from London and the south east to the regions, consumer confidence is positive, driving improved retailer demand for space in our centres at a time when new supply of quality retail space is very limited. Investor interest for prime regional shopping centres remains keen.
These factors provide a favourable background for our development programme as we look to introduce the next level of leisure concepts. We expect to undertake around £600 million of mixed retail and leisure projects in the next three years in the UK, in particular the intu Watford extension, and commence our major Spanish shopping resort development, intu Costa del Sol.
Our top shopping destinations help deliver high footfall and long dwell times for our retailers and restaurateurs. We attract some 400 million shopper visits a year and focus on delivering a great customer experience. We are continuing to make the intu brand really count through digital initiatives, including our transactional website, and multichannel promotional events, reflected in very positive customer feedback via our Tell intu programme.
While financial markets are volatile, the improved economic environment and tenant demand, together with the returns we are achieving from our investment in development, active management, technology and branding mean we are well positioned to achieve further organic growth in 2016".