British Land targets distributors as new retail park clients after rough year

The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London
A man walks through Broadgate circle as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, London, Britain, March 31, 2020. REUTERS/John Sibley/File Photo

May 26 (Reuters) - UK property group British Land (BLND.L) has begun marketing space in its coronavirus-hit retail parks to logistics companies whose "last mile" businesses in delivering purchases to consumers have boomed in the past year's lockdowns.

The UK company on Wednesday was the latest big commercial landlord to announce big writedowns in the value of the shops and offices it owns, slashing more than 1 billion pounds ($1.42 billion) off the value of its overall portfolio.

But it has spent some 200 million pounds on buying retail parks recently and is targetting more deals, judging the open air locations, often anchored by supermarkets, as a better bet going forward.

Chief Executive Officer Simon Carter told a conference call on the results that the company was targetting "last mile" logistics companies for the parks.

"We are talking with third-party logistic providers to take space in our own parks," said Carter in a call after British Land reported an annual loss.

"The development focus of urban logistics business is complementary. Our feel is that rental growth in urban logistics is strong," he added.

($1 = 0.7065 pounds)

Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru Editing by Keith Weir and Anil D'Silva

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