StockMarketWire.com - Hammerson swung to a loss in the first half of the year as net rental income slipped amid a challenging retail backdrop.

Hammerson also announced that it had exchanged contracts with AXA Investment Managers to sell its 75% stake in the Parisian shopping destination Italie Deux, and the forward sale of 75% of the Italik extension for a total of £423m.

For six months ended 30 June, -the company reported a pre-tax loss of £319.2m compared with a profit of £55.8n a year earlier.

Like-for-like net rental income was down 0.1%, led by a 6.8% in its UK flagship destinations, while premium outlets saw growth of 11.1%

Low transaction volumes and a weak UK retail market impacted portfolio valuations, which fell 4% to £9,542m.

The interim dividend was unchanged at 11.1p from a year earlier.

'The UK retail landscape is undoubtedly challenging and traditional high street fashion is under pressure. However, our focus on shifting our line-up towards categories with greater customer appeal and rental growth potential has resulted in over 90% of new leasing to leading consumer and F&B brands,' the company said.

'We've seen a stronger performance in Ireland and France, alongside continued exceptional results from premium outlets which demonstrates the benefits of our diversified portfolio.'

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