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“I am pleased to report an exceptional and record result for the year. I would like to thank our staff for continuing to perform excellently throughout the period particularly given the challenges presented by Covid-19.

All geographies have performed strongly and have shown good momentum in the final quarter. The UK business has traded particularly well in 2021, with closing occupancy up by 6.0ppts to a record 85.4% and an exceptionally strong growth in average rate in the final three months driving like-for-like revenue growth of 16.8% for the year. Our Paris business saw pleasing average rate improvement in the final quarter and, combined with 4.8ppts of like-for-like occupancy growth for the year (to 83.6%), grew like-for-like revenue by 4.3% which accelerated to 8.3% in the final quarter. Our Spanish business, in its first full year of ownership, also performed ahead of our expectations.

The Group has also made excellent strategic progress during the year. Our property pipeline continues to grow and we now have 732,000 sq ft of new space planned to open over the coming years in the UK, Paris and Spain, representing growth of c. 11% in the size of our estate Our pipeline will be financed by our free cash flow and existing debt facilities and we anticipate continuing to add further sites over the coming months. Our balance sheet remains strong and our financing capacity allows us to continue to consider acquisition opportunities.

In December 2021, Safestore acquired Your Room Self Storage in Christchurch, Dorset for £2.45m, which comprises a freehold store with an MLA of 14,000 sq ft. The store will be operated as an automated satellite of our two existing Bournemouth stores, and we anticipate the first year initial yield will be in excess of 6%.

Since 2013, we have added 22.9ppts of occupancy to the 113 stores still in the Group today, which now have an occupancy of 86.0% (an average increase of 2.9ppts per annum). Over that period the same stores have grown average rate by 16.1% (a CAGR of 1.9% per annum).

The Company has weathered the pandemic well and remains in a very strong position. Despite the current high levels of occupancy, the business still has 1.1m sq ft of currently unlet space in its existing fully invested estate in addition to 0.8m sq ft in its pipeline. This represents a significant organic growth opportunity in what remains a fragmented and growing market. Our leading market positions in the UK and Paris, combined with our balance sheet strength and resilient business model, leave us well positioned for the future.

Pleasingly, the strong performance of the final quarter has continued into the first two months of the new financial year with Group like-for-like revenue up 17.3% CER compared to the first two months of the prior year. Whilst accepting the potential for further disruption arising from Covid-19 restrictions. I look forward with confidence to the 2021/22 financial year.” 

Frederic Vecchioli, Safestore's Chief Executive Officer

Overview - Chairman's Statement

The Covid-19 pandemic has continued to present challenges over the last financial year to all of us. Our first priority throughout the crisis has been, and will continue to be, the safety and wellbeing of our staff and customers. The Covid-19 processes and procedures adopted during the prior financial year have continued to be implemented where applicable with store teams able to adapt quickly as new Covid-19 restrictions are introduced.
After two years in the role, I have been consistently impressed by the dedication of the stores and Head Office. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted an adaptability, commitment and resilience across the business that has enabled the continued operation of the stores throughout the crisis and which has delivered an outstanding and record set of results.
Our purpose remains simple, to continue to add stakeholder value by developing profitable and sustainable spaces that allow individuals, businesses and local communities to thrive. Our strategy is underpinned by our values, our behaviours and our governance structure which shape our culture and remain central to the way we conduct our business
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all my colleagues throughout the Group for their exceptional contributions this year.
Financial and Strategic Progress
Over the last two years the quality and resilience of the business model at Safestore has been demonstrated and I am delighted to announce, on behalf of the Board of the Group, a record set of results for the year ended 31 October 2021.

Management’s first priority remains to maximise the economic return on our existing store portfolio and its 1.1 million sq ft of fully invested unlet space, building on the operational improvements made over the previous seven years.

In addition to improving returns from our existing portfolio, the Group has continued to make significant strategic progress in expanding its footprint through a combination of new store openings and acquisitions. The Group has now opened seventeen stores over the last five years and all are performing well. The acquisition of both Fort Box Self Storage and OMB in Barcelona, acquired in November 2019 and December 2019 respectively are now fully integrated into the business. In addition, we have a further property pipeline of an additional 732,000 sq ft of MLA, which provides significant opportunity for the business and underpins our future growth.

Our joint venture1 with Carlyle and our OMB acquisition in Barcelona provide us with exciting platforms in new attractive geographies. Opslag in the Netherlands, acquired by the joint venture1 with Carlyle in December 2020, is performing strongly and complements the joint venture’s previous acquisitions of M3 in the Netherlands and Lokabox in Belgium. Safestore’s highly scalable platform will allow us to take advantage of further opportunities in due course.

Safestore’s business processes and operations are supported by the pillars of its ESG strategy; and whilst I am delighted with this record financial performance, I am equally proud of our other non-financial achievements.

The Board and management are particularly proud of the fact that the business was awarded the prestigious Investors in People (IIP) Platinum accreditation, and made the final 10 shortlist in the ‘Platinum Employer of the Year (250+)’ category in The Investors in People Awards 2021.This is the result of our continuous efforts to support our people and help them to develop through open communication and specifically developed day to day training courses to help build their skills.

We have also made significant progress in pursuing our other ESG goals. We have continued to focus on our environmental agenda, with year-on-year reductions in greenhouse gas emission and enhanced disclosures in recognition of the recommendations of the TCFD. I am pleased to report that we were awarded a Silver rating in the 2021 EPRA sustainability awards, an ‘A’ rating for public disclosures by GRESB and an ‘AA’ rating for ESG by MSCI. We were also awarded the highest rating of 5 stars by Support the Goals, recognising Safestore as the third member of the FTSE 250 to achieve this level. Details of these achievements are covered more fully in the Chief Executive’s report and the sustainability section of our annual report.

Non-Executive Board changes
At the end of the financial year two of our Non-Executive Directors stood down from the Board due to other commitments. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank both Bill Oliver and Joanne Kenrick for their contribution and commitment to the business over many years and wish them well in all their future endeavours.

I am also delighted to welcome the two new Non-Executive Directors whom we appointed after a comprehensive search through an international independent search firm. I am delighted that in Delphine Mousseau and Laure Duhot we have two new Board members whose experience and expertise will help us move forward. It is also worth noting that the appointment of these new directors means that over one third of our Board is now female which is a further step in our journey towards greater diversity and inclusion at both Board and leadership level within the company.

1 – The joint venture with CERF, which represents a 20% investment, has been accounted for as an associate using the equity method of accounting, as described in the “Investment in associates” note to the financial statements.

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