Giles Barrie and James Whitmore analyse Hammerson's decision to sell its £600m office portfolio, in order to concentrate on retail.
They also consider if a "tidied-up" Hammerson is more likely to be a takeover victim.
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"Property firm Hammerson caught the market on the hop with its decision to sell off all its office developments to focus on its retail assets, but with the employment situation looking bleak, the market was quick to applaud the decision.
"Hammerson chairman John Nelson said:
"We believe that occupier and investment demand for retail space will be concentrated on modern, well-maintained properties in the very best locations, such as those owned by Hammerson. Properties without these attributes may experience rental and capital value declines in 2012,
Our regionally-dominant shopping centres and convenient retail parks continue to generate demand from successful retailers. We will increase our focus and scale in our chosen retail markets, to capitalise further on structural changes in consumer behaviour."