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Strong performances of Scottish malls boosts Land Securities

LAND Securities has highlighted strong performances by its malls in Glasgow and Livingston as it signalled its intention to off-load non-flagship assets.

The commercial property developer said the sale of The Bridges shopping centre in Sunderland for £152 million, and its purchase of a 30 per cent stake in Bluewater, Kent, underlined its focus on the "best retail assets". The Bluewater deal, worth £696 million, gave Land full management control of the centre, as well as 110 acres of surrounding land.

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Land said Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow, a joint venture with Henderson Global Investors, and The Centre in Livingston had performed well amid challenging conditions in its first quarter.

It pointed to the "positive impact" made by Buchanan Quarter, the mixed retail and residential development it launched across from the Galleries last year to the city's shopping mix, highlighting that it had brought fashion chain Forever 21 to Scotland for the first time.

And it noted progress with plans to extend Buchanan Galleries, confirming that Marks & Spencer, Next and Showcase Cinema de Luxe have all committed to take space at the site next to the John Lewis department store.

Katherine Armstead, senior portfolio manager for Land Securities, said: "Our Scottish assets in Glasgow and Livingston continue to perform well in a challenging marketplace.

"We are always reviewing the shopping and leisure mix at both centres to ensure we are providing the best experience to our customers."

She added: "The Centre, Livingston, is looking to increase its leisure offering to reinforce the centre's reputation as West Lothian's shopping destination."

Elsewhere in the UK, Land said it had secured £15.4 million of development lettings in London since April 1, with a further £6.7 million in solicitors' hands.

It said these deals represent a total of 385,000 square feet of commercial property space.

On occupancy, it said £4.2 million of investment lettings were signed in the first quarter, with £10.4 million in solicitors' hands. Voids were booked at 2.4 per cent on a like-for-like basis, compared with 2.2 per cent on March 31, and retailer sales were up 4.1 per cent on the same quarter last year on a same store basis.

Total retailer sales grew by 4 per cent over the period.

Shares in Land Securities Group closed up 1p at 1029p.

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