Annual results 2023-2024: Resilience of retail parks supports operating results of the past financial year and provides stable valuation

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Best operational results in 26 years

  • EPRA result1  (group) of € 88.37 million (+9.77% like-for-like versus 31 March 2023).
  • EPRA result per share2  (group) of € 6.18 (+6.81% like-for-like3) (based on the weighted average number of shares).
  • Net rental result of € 138.83 million (+10.71%) thanks to rent indexations and acquisitions.
  • Like-for-like (at constant portfolio excluding the acquisitions and disposals of the past fiscal year) rental income increased +6.50%.
  • Fair value of the real estate portfolio of € 2,028.32 million at 31 March 2024 (+7.4% vs. € 1,888.56 million at 31 March 2023). At constant composition, the value increased +2.96%. Occupancy rate stable at high level (97.89%) (versus 98.08% at 31 March 2023).
  • Debt ratio at healthy level: 44.62%. Hedging interest rate risk supports results of fiscal year and remains at a similar level in 2024-2025.
  • Proceeds of the June 2023 capital increase (€ 16.90 million) were invested in the acquisition of retail park Alexandrium Megastores in Rotterdam (Netherlands) (€ 81.50 million).
  • Retail Estates played an active role in the relaunch of 11 retail properties following the bankruptcy of Fun and BCC. 10 stores were relet in less than 3 months.
  • Dividend of € 5 gross per share. An optional dividend is offered.

Financial year 2023-2024 in a nutshell

Retail Estates, specialised in the lease of out-of-town retail properties, presents its best operational results in 26 years. In spite of the aftermath of the Covid-19 and energy crises and the ongoing cost inflation, the real estate company performed well as regards important core performance indicators such as rental income, occupancy rate (97.89%) and operational expenses. The rental income was fully indexed and grew by 6.50% on a like-for-like4 basis. This led to EPRA earnings of € 88.37 million (+9.77% vs. € 80.50 million on 31 March 2023, exclusive of non-recurring income2). The EPRA earnings per share amounted to € 6.18, an increase by 6.81% (exclusive of non-recurring income2).

Value of properties continues to increase

The good sector-wide performance supports the value of the properties in Belgium and the Netherlands. In addition, out-of-town retail parks are highly sought after by real estate investors on account of their stable performance over the recent turbulent years. This explains why the valuation of these investments remains stable. The value of the real estate investments of Retail Estates, at constant composition, increased during the past financial year by € 55.97 million (+2.96%). This increase represents the positive balance of a series of corrections that can mainly be explained by the indexation of the rents and partly by higher sales prices.

The value of the real estate portfolio (inclusive of non-current assets under construction) has increased to € 2,028.32 million (+7.40% vs. € 1,888.56 million on 31 March 2023). This can mainly be explained by the expansion of the portfolio by € 88.31 million, the sale of investment properties for an amount of € 12.65 million and a positive revaluation of the existing real estate portfolio for an amount of € 51.19 million.

The proceeds of the capital increase of June 2023, supplemented with bank funding, were used to acquire the retail park Alexandrium Megastores in Rotterdam (the Netherlands) for € 81.50 million. Retail Estates considers this acquisition the jewel in the crown of its Dutch real estate portfolio. Over the past seven years, its fair value has grown to € 679.42 million, making Retail Estates the market leader in the Dutch out-of-town segment.

In addition, Retail Estates acquired two retail units in the home decoration mall Woonmall Alexandrium (Rotterdam) in cooperation with a Dutch partner, bringing the total to eighteen. This transaction was part of a broader arbitrage operation involving the sale of several solitary retail properties in Belgium. In addition to the properties in Woonmall Alexandrium, Retail Estates also acquired two retail units in the Gouden Kruispunt retail park in Sint-Joris-Winge (Leuven, Belgium).

Retail Estates continues to implement its ESG strategy with investments in photovoltaic panels, insulation and high-performance glazing. In this context the company strives for a win-win situation with its tenants with a view to increasing the sustainable lettability and value retention of its retail properties. The current programme runs until the end of the 2024-2025 financial year but is subject to ongoing evaluation. In the meantime the real estate company is working on a new three-year programme that will be launched in April 2025.

Stable rents despite challenges in retail sector

Retailers' profitability depends heavily on their pricing power, with price setters having a clear advantage over price takers. In the home decoration segment, this does increase sales, but it is often offset by lower volumes. As a result, retailers who are not price setters have a hard time. The fashion sector is under pressure from structurally declining consumption amplified by negative seasonal effects.

Consumers are currently spending less. Although overall purchasing power has not decreased thanks to the automatic wage indexation in Belgium and the actual wage increase in the Netherlands, consumers keep focusing on perceived price increases. It is impossible to refute this inflation perception by the actual increase of wages. In addition, purchasing power has indeed declined in some regions, leading to pressure on local retailers. Nevertheless, Retail Estates has managed to renew rents at levels that are in line with those achieved before the renewal due to increased indexation

Debt ratio and interest risks under control

As was the case in the previous financial years, Retail Estates paid a lot of attention to the extension of the current bank financing and the hedging of the interest rate risks. The shareholders’ equity was strengthened with a € 16.90 million capital increase in June 2023 and the incorporation of extraordinary profits into the reserves. As a result, the debt ratio remains low at 44.62% on 31 March 2024 (vs. 44.77% op 31 March 2023). Retail Estates retains a limited investment capacity within the context of the targeted debt ratio of 45%. In addition, the debt is hedged for a long period of time: 2.2% in the next two years, after which the market rate will become partially apparent due to the non-hedging or postponed hedging of interest rates

Optional interim dividend of € 5.00

On 24 May 2024, the Board of Directors of Retail Estates decided to pay, in the form of an optional dividend, a gross interim dividend for the 2023-2024 financial year (which started on 1 April 2023 and ended on 31 March 2024) amounting to € 5.00 (€ 3.5 net, i.e. the net dividend per share after deduction of withholding tax at a rate of 30%) per share (participating in the profits of the 2023-2024 financial year).

Taking into account the obligation of Retail Estates as a public BE-REIT to pay out dividends pursuant to article 13 of the Royal Decree of 13 July 2014 on regulated real estate companies, the Board of Directors will propose to the annual general meeting of 22 July 2024 to not pay any additional dividend for the financial year 2023-2024.

For the next financial year 2024-2025, Retail Estates expects to achieve a net rental income of € 143 million and a gross dividend of € 5.10 (+2%).

More information


  1. The EPRA earnings is calculated as follows: net result excluding changes in fair value of investment properties, exclusive the result on disposal of investment properties and exclusive changes in fair value of financial assets and liabilities, and excluding minority interests relating to the aforementioned elements.
  2. EPRA earnings per share on 31 March 2023 is the EPRA profit on 31 March 2023 corrected for the non-recurring results as a consequence of various refunds of Dutch taxes relating to the previous financial year.
  3. Taking into account the issue of 289,760 new shares as a result of the capital increase within the context of the optional interim dividend. More information in the press release of 12 July 2023: Result of the interim optional dividend.
  4. Evolution of rental income on a similar portfolio (excluding purchases/sales from past financial year)

Annual results 2023-2024: Resilience of retail parks supports operating results of the past financial year and provides stable valuation