1 August 2014

LAND Securities reiterated the benefits its £350m Trinity Leeds shopping centre will bring to the region today as the developer posted increased annual profits.

The group also said it would continue to invest in its "northern flagship", the Whi

Primark at the Trinity Shopping Centre

At White Rose, planning permission has been granted for a 40,000 sq ft expansion for existing retailers, which the group said demonstrated its success and popularity.

Gerald Jennings, Land Securities' portfolio director who heads the company's Leeds office, said: "We are creating an excellent 1m sq ft shopping and leisure destination in the heart of the city that is set to lift Leeds above Manchester from seventh to fourth place in the UK's retail league table. At the same time we are continuing to invest in White Rose, where retailer demand for space is strong.

"For Trinity Leeds the recent Primark letting for a store of 90,000 sq ft gross is the largest space taken by a single fashion brand. It's another milestone for the project and a real demonstration of our strong relationship with retailers such as Primark.

"The successful progress with pre-lettings is a vote of confidence in Leeds and our scheme, which was the first major retail-led development in the UK to start on site since the economic downturn."

Mr Jennings said over the financial year to March 31, White Rose achieved a number of landmarks, including attracting almost 1.5m visitors in December.

The 353,000 visitors in Christmas week was almost 1% up on the same week in 2009 and on Boxing Day the centre had the busiest hour since its opening in March 1997, when 8,700 shoppers came through its doors between 11am and noon.

Mr Jennings added: "It is this enduring popularity that makes leading brands such as H&M want to be at White Rose and for existing retailers to increase the space that they have at the centre."

Land Securities today posted pre-tax profits up almost 15% on the previous year, from £1.06bn to £1.2bn.

The group completed portfolio disposals of £687m at an average of 12.7% above its March 2010 valuations.

Francis Salway, chief executive at Land Securities, said: "This was a year of continued recovery in our market and strong progress by Land Securities. Our focus on development, our disciplined approach to acquisitions and disposals and our asset management activities have all delivered significant momentum across the business"

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