Feb 7 (Reuters) - French shopping centre operator Klepierre said on Wednesday that improving consumer confidence in Europe lifted sales at its malls, driving “intense” leasing activity and helping it to boost its cash flow in 2017.
The company reported net current cash flow per share of 2.48 euros for 2017, up 7.4 percent year-on-year and broadly in line with its guidance of at least 2.45 euros per share.
While shopping centre operators are facing tough competition from online retailers like Amazon, the company has benefitted from a euro-zone economy which has been growing at its fastest rate in a decade, with consumer confidence jumping to a 17-year high in January.
“We have a reduction in unemployment everywhere in Europe...and that will boost consumption in shopping centres,” Chairman of the Executive Board Jean-Marc Jestin said during a call with journalists.
The company said leasing activity was “intense” in 2017, with 1,864 deals signed, up 8 percent from the previous year.
The company said that it expects 2018 cash flow of 2.57–2.62 euros per share.
It proposed a dividend of 1.96 euros ($2.40) per share for 2017, up 7.7 percent versus the previous year. ($1 = 0.8151 euros) (Reporting by Alan Charlish; Editing by Adrian Croft)