British Land has reported footfall up 0.1% and sales dropping 0.2% across its portfolio in the six months to 30 September and said it will continue to adopt a cautious approach” to development.

The group pointed out that it outperformed the wider market, where footfall and sales were down 2.3% and 2.1% respectively.

It said strong performance from food and beverage operators had mitigated some weak performances form department stores.

The group stressed that operators were facing significant headwinds going into 2017, with average business rates increase across its portfolio expected to be just over 2%.

British Land’s retail and leisure portfolio fell in valuation by 2.4% over the six months which, along with disposals, resulted in a reduction in value of £0.5bnn to £6.8bn.

On the group’s strategy for its leisure and retail portfolio, chief executive Chris Grigg said: “Six months ago we set out our vision to create outstanding places for modern consumer lifestyles, places to shop, eat and be entertained. Our research and data tell us today’s consumer requires much more in a retail destination than just the right mix of retailers. They want a variety of food, drink and leisure in environments that promote a pleasurable experience, and events which bring the place to life, as well as, increasingly, a direct link to the communities in which the asset is located. In addition, our occupiers require easily configurable space in accessible locations, which form the core of their internet-enabled omni-channel offer.”

The group reported an overall 16.4% increase in underlying profit for the period to £199m with 769,000 sq ft of lettings and renewals across the portfolio - on average 11.6% ahead of ERV, 60% of which were after the referendum.