StockMarketWire.com - Big Yellow Group's revenues rose to £21.3m in the three months to the end of December - 16% up on a year ago.

In the period, the group completed the acquisition of the two-thirds share of Big Yellow Limited Partnership that it did not previously own; the Partnership owning 12 Big Yellow stores in large metropolitan cities outside of London.

The acquisition was partly financed through the successful placing of 14.35 million ordinary shares in November.

The revenue excluding the Partnership stores included from 1 December was £20.3m for the quarter, representing an increase of 11% from the corresponding quarter last year.

The group says: "In what is always a seasonally weaker quarter for the group, the 68 stores fell in occupancy by 103,000 sq ft (2.4% of maximum lettable area) compared to a loss of 120,000 sq ft (2.9% of MLA) in the same quarter last year. The number of move-ins was up 14% on the quarter to 31 December 2013. For the 56 stores that were wholly owned at 30 September 2014, the loss of occupancy in the quarter to December was 2.1% of their 3,526,000 sq ft MLA."

Chief executive James Gibson said: "The seasonal loss of occupancy in the group this quarter is in the normal range of 2% to 3% of MLA, and pleasingly towards the lower end of this range, driven by year-on-year improvement in move-in numbers in the stores. This improving demand is broad based across domestic and business customers.

"Whilst our main focus remains on occupancy performance we are pleased to have delivered net rent per sq ft growth of 1.6% from 30 September 2014 across the total portfolio of 68 Big Yellow stores.

"Furthermore on a like-for-like basis over the quarter year on year revenue growth of 11% has remained in line with the first half of the year.

"We are also delighted to have acquired the freehold of our store in Battersea and the adjoining retail unit. This both protects our self storage business in this key location, and provides us the opportunity to extend our store in the future.

"We have had a positive start to January with the seasonal return to occupancy growth and an improving book of reservations. As we have indicated previously, the uncertainty around the General Election in May could lead to some prospects deferring decisions in the run up to and over the election period.

"Looking through that, we believe the structural changes in London and other major cities, the barriers to new self-storage supply, the recent changes to stamp duty, reducing energy costs and continued low interest rates are all positive for self-storage demand. We now look forward to our seasonally busier spring and summer trading period."




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