StockMarketWire.com - British Land swung to a loss as the ongoing gloomy retail backdrop weighed on its portfolio and offset a 'healthy' London office market.

For the 12 months ended 31 March, the company reported a loss of £319m from a profit £510m a year earlier, and earnings -- stated as EPRA net asset value per share -- fell to 905p from 967p a share.

Its porfolio value was down 4.8%, led by an 11.1% slump in retail offsetting 1.1% growth in offices segment and 10.8% growth in its development segment.

Retail investment markets were weak 'reflecting continued negative sentiment around the long-term role of physical retail,' the company said. But but the London office market 'continued to be healthy,' it added.

The full year dividend was raised by 3.0% to 31p for the year, from a year earlier.

'We delivered further on our strategy to build an increasingly mixed-use business by investing in our campuses, progressing developments and reshaping our retail portfolio. We sold £1.5bn of assets and leased more space than in any of the last five years, securing future income and de-risking our developments, which are now 76% pre-let,' said Chris Grigg, Chief Executive.

Looking ahead, the company continued to expect that retail would remain challenging, though tsouted some signs of easing headwinds in sector.

'Retail is likely to remain challenging as structural change continues but there are early signs on parts of our portfolio, that some of the short-term operational headwinds impacting retailers are easing,' the company said.

'We expect the London market to remain active, as occupier demand for the highest quality space continues to be firm and supply is relatively constrained.'




At 8:47am: [LON:BLND] British Land Co PLC share price was -6p at 554.4p



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