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Big Yellow Trading Statement, January 2020

16th January 2020

In the seasonally weaker third quarter, occupancy decreased by 165,000 sq ft (3.5% of the MLA at 31 December 2019) compared to a loss of 126,000 sq ft in the same quarter last year (2.7% of the MLA at 31 December 2018) and a loss of 170,000 sq ft in 2017 (3.7% of the MLA at 31 December 2017).

Like for like closing occupancy was 80.7%, a decrease of 0.4 ppts from the same time last year. Closing occupancy was 79.9%, after the opening of Manchester in May 2019 and the closure of Battersea in March 2019.

The Group's average achieved net rent per sq ft increased by 2.9% compared to the same quarter last year. Closing net achieved rent per sq ft was £28.42 per annum, an increase of 2.8% from the same time last year, and up 4.2% from 31 March 2019.

The Group's like for like revenue increased by 2.9% in the quarter and is up 3.8% year to date.

Armadillo:

Revenue from the 25 store Armadillo portfolio for the quarter to 31 December 2019 increased by 11.6% to £4.3 million compared to the same quarter last year.  Like for like revenue, excluding Grimsby, Daventry and Liverpool Aintree (acquired in April, May and July 2019 respectively) increased by 4.0% compared to the same quarter last year. 

Development:

The construction of our stores in Camberwell (London), Bracknell, and Battersea (London) are on schedule and we anticipate that the stores will open in May 2020, June 2020 and July 2020 respectively. 

We have recently commenced construction of our Uxbridge store which we anticipate will open in early 2021.

During the period, as previously reported, we obtained planning consent on our development sites at Hove and Queensbury (London).

We are continuing planning discussions on our other development sites and will provide further updates in due course.

The Group's development pipeline amounts to approximately 890,000 sq ft, representing 19% of current MLA, with an estimated future cost to complete of £90 million. 

James Gibson, Chief Executive Officer, commented:

"The economic and political uncertainty that we referred to in our interim results continued during the lead-up to the December election. Following, the election however, trading in the quarter improved.

Despite this uncertainty, the business continued to deliver revenue and rate growth over the quarter. 

Since the start of the fourth quarter we are seeing a pick-up in demand, as represented by enquiries through our digital channels, and growing net reservations.  Occupancy has also started to grow from its seasonally low point at the end of December. 

We remain focussed on our objective of 90% occupancy and look forward to delivering growth in occupancy and revenue over the fourth quarter and continuing this into our seasonally stronger spring and summer trading period."