Big Yellow, 1st Quarter Trading Update

16th July 2015

The Board of Big Yellow Group PLC, the UK's brand leader in self storage, is pleased to provide the following update on trading for the first quarter ended 30 June 2015: 

On 1 December 2014, the Group completed the acquisition of the 66.67% of Big Yellow Limited Partnership (the Joint Venture created to build out our regional portfolio) that it did not previously own.  The Partnership owns 12 Big Yellow stores in large metropolitan cities outside London.   

The 70 stores increased occupancy over the quarter by 146,000 sq ft (3.3% of the MLA at 30 June 2015) compared to a gain of 187,000 sq ft in the same quarter last year (4.4% of the MLA at 30 June 2014).  The number of move-ins was up 1% on the quarter to 30 June 2014. 
Armadillo Self Storage:
Occupancy in the Armadillo 1 and Armadillo 2 portfolios has increased over the quarter by 18,000 sq ft to 481,000 sq ft of the total MLA of 671,000 sq ft, representing occupancy of 71.7%.

The revenue from the two portfolios for the quarter to 30 June 2015 increased by 10% to £2.2 million compared to the revenue achieved by these portfolios in the same quarter last year, and is up 5% from the quarter to 31 March 2015. 

Store update:

In April 2015 we opened our prominent 60,000 sq ft store at Enfield, North London, on the A10. The store has started strongly and we expect it to break even at the EBITDA level in the current quarter.

We are aiming to commence conversion of the former Royal Mail building in Cambridge in the Autumn, with the store expected to open in the final quarter of this financial year.

M&G loan:
The Group completed on the drawdown of the seven year loan from M&G Investments on 29 June 2015 and repaid the £70 million Lloyds bridging facility on that date.  Following the drawdown of the M&G loan, the Group's average cost of debt at current levels of LIBOR is 3.9%.
James Gibson, Chief Executive Officer, commented:
"Overall, our first quarter has seen a continuation in the positive trading momentum we achieved last year.  As previously indicated the uncertainty in the lead up to the General Election did result in softer trading in the first half of the quarter.  However, following the conclusive outcome, we saw an improvement in demand, with a return to more normal trading, and a strong performance in the second half of the quarter. 

We have grown occupancy in our like-for-like stores by 3.1 percentage points over the quarter.  The first quarter is historically our strongest, but we would expect to deliver further occupancy gains in the second quarter, in line with our guidance of 3 to 4 percentage points of like-for-like occupancy growth over the course of the financial year.

This occupancy performance, coupled with an increase in net achieved rent per sq ft has led to like-for-like revenue growth of 10% compared to the same quarter last year.

Our focus remains on earnings and cash flow growth through increasing occupancy and revenue by leveraging our market leading brand and operating platform."