U.K. self-storage operator Big Yellow Group PLC released financial results for the fourth quarter of its 2020 fiscal year, which ended March 31. The company reported same-store revenue of £123.5 million, up 3.8 percent year over year. Total revenue for the period was £31.5 million, a 4.1 percent increase from the previous year. Same-store occupancy was 82.4 percent, up from 81.3 percent. Average rent per square foot was £27.46, up 3 percent.
The numbers were positive despite operational adjustments and government orders in reaction to the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which began to affect Big Yellow markets in mid-March. The crisis hit the company’s development progress, forcing it to halt construction at two sites and limit progress at a third. “We will recommence construction as appropriate following the relaxation of lockdown measures,” company officials said.
Of the 13 properties in Big Yellow’s development pipeline, six have received planning approval. Three have pending applications, while plans for four projects are expected to be submitted later this year.
Overall, the company is well-poised to withstand the disruptions caused by the pandemic, according to CEO James Gibson. “Our investment in our digital platform in the last decade, which allow automated access to existing customers, has enabled us to amend our operating practices to continue to provide secure storage services in this lockdown environment,” he said. “Furthermore, we own 98 percent of our estate by value freehold, enjoy high operating margins, and we have a relatively flexible and conservative debt structure.
“Given the levels of distress in the economy, it is not possible to make accurate judgments about future trading until we have improved visibility. We are self-evidently not immune from this very challenging environment; however, we believe our business model will provide the group with a good deal of resilience,” Gibson said.
Big Yellow Group operates 100 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 5.7 million square feet.
Big Yellow, Fourth Quarter Trading Update