U.K. self-storage operator Big Yellow Group PLC released financial results for its 2021 fiscal year, which ended March 31. The company reported same-store revenue of £148.1 million, up 13% year over year. Total revenue for the period was £171.3 million, a 27% increase from 2020. Same-store occupancy was 86.7%, down from 87.4%, while average rent per square foot increased 8% to £30.41.
“The group has delivered strong revenue growth, driving earnings growth from a combination of occupancy, improvements in average net rent driven by our yield management systems, and the accretive acquisition of Armadillo [Self Storage],” said Nicholas Vetch, executive chairman. “The business delivered very strong occupancy growth from the end of the first lockdown in 2020 through to last summer, benefiting from an acceleration in certain structural trends around housing, working from home, the move to online trading and the like. These trends, combined with the shortage of quality flexible mini-warehousing space from which to operate small-scale storage and e-fulfilment is helping to drive our demand. We believe these are long-term trends.”
Big Yellow acquired the remaining 80% stake in Armadillo last June for £119 million. The company also opened three new locations during the year, adding 185,000 square feet to its portfolio.
The self-storage operator continues to look for expansion opportunities. It has 12 sites under various stages of development (10 in London), of which seven have received planning approval. Combined, the projects comprise about 1 million square feet.
Among the projects underway is an 82,000-square-foot self-storage facility on a 1-acre lot in Harrow, England, which is scheduled to open this summer. Big Yellow has also been developing an industrial warehouse adjacent to the self-storage site for a total cost of about £31.5 million. As part of its earnings announcement, the company said it had agreed to sell the warehouse and land on which it sits for £61 million, pending completion of the project. It’ll retain the self-storage site, and the transaction is expected to close in August. The warehouse property is among a group of “surplus” sites Big Yellow plans to sell to generate cash flow estimated at more than £100 million.
Big Yellow Group operates 105 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 6.1 million rentable square feet.