Hammerson, the UK’s leading commercial property company, has reported a robust rebound in footfall and leasing activity, signaling a strong recovery from the challenges of the past year. The company has worked diligently to improve its financials and concentrate on its prime urban estates.

According to Hammerson’s latest report, footfall across all locations has shown a remarkable recovery as COVID-19 restrictions have gradually eased. This positive trend has been accompanied by occupier sales that have surpassed footfall, indicating a robust demand for its retail spaces. Moreover, flagship leasing value has soared by 150% to reach an impressive £25 million, a significant improvement from the previous year.

Hammerson’s flagship occupancy has also demonstrated positive growth, reaching a commendable 96% compared to 93% at the halfway mark of the year. This upward momentum in leasing is expected to continue into 2022, providing a promising outlook for the company.

Although the progress made by Hammerson is commendable, CEO Rita-Rose Gagné acknowledges that there is still work to be done. The company’s annual report for the 12 months ending December 2021 highlights the strategic disposal of non-core operations worth £623 million. This strategic move has allowed Hammerson to narrow its focus on its prime urban estates and has resulted in a stronger balance sheet.

Through these disposals, Hammerson has successfully reduced its annual losses from £1.7 billion to £429 million. However, there has been a decline in gross rental income from £287 million to £241.6 million, primarily due to the disposals carried out throughout the year.

Despite the decrease in rental income, Hammerson has been able to reduce its net debt by an impressive 19% to £1.8 billion. The company also maintains significant liquidity with £1.5 billion in undrawn committed facilities and cash.

Gagné emphasizes that Hammerson recognized the need for radical changes in order to adapt and thrive in the current operating environment. The pandemic has accelerated shifts in how people engage with physical spaces, and Hammerson’s focus is now on creating relevant, appealing, and sustainable spaces for the future.

The company’s new strategy will prioritize agility, innovation, and driving performance. With a strengthened balance sheet and a renewed focus, Hammerson is well-positioned to continue its recovery and deliver value to its stakeholders.

Please find below two useful links related to Hammerson’s recovery and strategic focus:

1. Hammerson’s Reports Centre: Access Hammerson’s reports and updates on their financial performance and strategic direction.

2. Hammerson’s Sustainability Initiatives: Learn more about Hammerson’s commitment to sustainability and their efforts to create environmentally responsible and socially inclusive spaces.