Closing occupancy was 80.1%, an increase of 4.6 % from the same time last year.
In our seasonally weaker third quarter, the 73 stores decreased in occupancy by 170,000 sq ft compared to a loss of 137,000 sq ft in the same quarter last year.
We are pleased to report continued improvement in net rents over the quarter. The average achieved net rent per sq ft for the quarter was up 1.3% compared to the same quarter last year. Closing net achieved rent per sq ft was £26.89 per annum, an increase of 2.1% from the same time last year and up 3.3% from 31 March 2017.
The Group's revenue increased by 8.0% compared to the same quarter
The revenue from the Armadillo portfolio for the quarter to 31 December 2017 increased by 23% to £3.2 million compared to the same quarter last year. Like-for-like revenue, excluding six store acquisitions made since April 2016, increased by 11% compared to the same quarter last year.
Our 55,000 sq ft MLA Guildford Central store will open in March, and the 25,000 sq ft extension to our existing Wandsworth store will complete in April 2018.
We are planning to commence construction on our landmark 60,000 sq ft Manchester city centre store later this month, with a scheduled opening in Spring 2019.
We are continuing to progress planning on our other development sites and will provide a further update in May with our final results.
We have completed on the acquisition of a 20th Armadillo store in Stockton South, taking the portfolio to a maximum lettable area of 850,000 sq ft.
James Gibson, Chief Executive Officer, commented:
"Following strong summer trading the December quarter, as expected, saw seasonal attrition in occupancy, closing at 80.1%, an increase of 4.6% from the same time last year. Given the higher levels of overall occupancy in the business, we are pleased to have seen continued improvement in net rents driven by our pricing model.
We are also reporting improving growth in year on year revenue over the quarter, with an increase to 8.0% from 5.7% growth reported at the half year. Importantly, although this was driven mainly through occupancy, we did see a contribution from an improvement in average net achieved rents.
We remain focussed on occupancy, January has started positively, and we look forward to delivering growth in occupancy and revenue over the current fourth quarter and continuing this into our seasonally stronger spring and summer trading period."