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Hammerson to complete £20m Silverburn extension early in 2015

REAL estate investment trust Hammerson has confirmed it is on course to complete its £20 million leisure extension of the Silverburn shopping centre in the first quarter of next year.

However, many of the nine new restaurants could open as early as this autumn.

Among those already signed up to the 10,900 square metre development, where construction started in 2013, are Carluccio's, Cosmo's, Pizza Express, Chimichanga, TGI Friday's and Zizzi. Almost half of the total footprint will be taken up by a 14-screen Cineworld cinema.

Hammerson said the site is 91 per cent let and added: "The majority of the restaurants are due to open in autumn 2014 with the remainder of the scheme open for business in early 2015." It also reiterated projections for £1 million of annual rental from the extension and said it has around £6 million still to spend to complete the construction. Once all the restaurants and the cinema are open they are expected to support hundreds of additional jobs.

At the Abbotsinch Retail Park in Paisley, which Hammerson bought in October 2012, a 5,000 square metre extension opened in June with tenants including kitchen firm Wren, homewares retailer Dunelm, electronics specialist Maplin and sofa business ScS.

In Aberdeen's Union Square, River Island has trebled the size of its store with fellow fashion retailer Fat Face doubling its floorspace in the mall.

Next is spending upwards of £4 million at the Fife Central Retail Park, at Kirkcaldy, to extend its existing site into a superstore with wider clothing, furniture and café offerings.

In the six months to June 30 Hammerson, which includes Birmingham's Bullring and Brent Cross in London in its portfolio, saw net rental income increase 4.6 per cent from £140.4 million to £146.9 million. Rental income was said to have gone up by 1.5 per cent on a like-for-like basis.

There was around £12 million of new rents secured in the period with £7.8 million from UK properties and more than £4 million from operations in France.

Occupancy across the group's sites was at 97.2 per cent. David Atkins, chief executive, said: "The consumer backdrop is improving in the UK and stabilising in France, against which we are providing the space for successful, expanding retailers, allowing us to grow rental values in selected locations. At the same time, global investors are increasingly seeking exposure to the benefits of high-quality retail assets, which has had a beneficial impact on capital values."

The interim dividend was raised by six per cent from 8.3p to 8.8p.

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