U.K. self-storage operator Big Yellow Group PLC released financial results for the first quarter of its 2021 fiscal year, which ended June 30. The company reported same-store revenue of £31.7 million, up 1.9 percent year over year. Total revenue for the period was £31.8 million, a 2.3 percent increase from 2020. Same-store occupancy was 83.6 percent, down from 84 percent. Average rent per square foot was £28.28, up 3.7 percent.
The numbers were positive despite operational adjustments and government orders in reaction to the spread of the coronavirus, which began to affect Big Yellow markets in mid-March. The company reported increased activity from business and residential customers as lockdown restrictions began to ease in mid-May.
“Immediately following the lockdown in March, we saw an impact on demand through a significant reduction in our activity levels and an initial loss in net occupancy, although year-on-year revenue continued to grow, driven by rental growth,” said James Gibson, CEO. “The business proved to be relatively resilient, although not immune to the resultant seismic economic shock caused by the lockdown. As these measures were gradually relaxed from mid-May, we saw an improvement in demand across all segments, with the second half of the quarter seeing prospects up by 10 percent on last year, leading to improved occupancy performance.”
Development activity has commenced on two London facilities and one in Bracknell, England. Those projects comprise 183,000 square feet, with two expected to open this year and one by summer 2021. The company has also received planning approval for a 73,000-square-foot facility in the Hayes area of London, which is slated to open in spring 2022.
“Although it is early in the second quarter, we are continuing to see an improvement in year-on-year occupancy growth,” Gibson said. “Significant economic uncertainty remains, and it should be noted that we have limited visibility in this business, with customers tending to reserve only a few weeks before moving in. However, we remain confident of the longer-term growth prospects for the business; the principal drivers being occupancy-led revenue growth from the existing portfolio and targeted expansion in our core area of London and its commuter towns.”
Big Yellow Group operates 101 self-storage locations in the United Kingdom under the Big Yellow Self Storage and Armadillo brand names, with most concentrated in Greater London and Southeast England. Its total portfolio comprises 5.8 million square feet.
Big Yellow, Trading Statement