U.K. self-storage operator Big Yellow Group PLC released financial results for its fiscal year and the fourth quarter ended March 31. Revenue for the year was £69.7 million ($105 million), which was up 6 percent over the previous fiscal year. Adjusted profit before tax was £25.5 million ($38.4 million), an increase of 8 percent year over year. Store revenue for the quarter was down 1 percent compared to the same quarter the previous year.
The companys 54 wholly owned stores showed a net gain in occupancy of 90,000 square feet, representing an average of 1,666 square feet per store. For Big Yellows 32 established locations, occupancy was 72.8 percent compared to 74.3 percent at the same time last year. The 22 lease-up stores increased occupancy from 48.8 percent to 54.3 percent. Overall store occupancy increased during the year from 63.5 percent to 64.8 percent.
The results were partially attributed to the impact absorbed from the governments imposed 20 percent value-added tax (VAT) on self-storage that went into effect Oct. 1, 2012.
We made a strong start to the year with significant occupancy growth in the first half (our seasonally strongest period), as we additionally benefited from the increased business and consumer confidence in the lead-up to the Olympics, said Nicholas Vetch, executive chairman. The seasonally weaker quarter to December was further impacted by a combination of a softening in the macroeconomy in the period after the Olympics, and price increases to our domestic customers of 10 percent or 12.5 percent as a result of the imposition of VAT on our storage rents from Oct. 1. By the beginning of the fourth quarter, the environment had stabilized, and we saw a return to growth in net occupancy.
The company has received approval to build three new locations and is awaiting permission on a fourth property.
Big Yellow Group operates 66 self-storage locations in the United Kingdom under the Big Yellow Self Storage brand name, with most concentrated in Greater London. The portfolio comprises 4.2 million square feet.
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