Hammerson plc (LSE: HMSO) is a major British property development and investment company. The firm switched to Real Estate Investment Trust status when REITs were introduced in the United Kingdom in January 2007. It is traded on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. The majority of Hammerson's portfolio is in the United Kingdom, but is also operates in continental Europe, including operations in France, Spain and Germany. It invests mainly in offices and retail premises. It is also listed on Euronext stock exchange in Paris.
The business was founded by Lewis Hammerson, who began to invest in property in 1942, converting houses into apartments. His company L.W. Hammerson & Co moved into the commercial property sector in 1948 and became a listed company in 1953. It first expanded outside the UK in the 1960s, when it moved into Australia, New Zealand and the United States. In the 1970s it ventured onto the continent and back in the UK it developed the Brent Cross Shopping Centre, which was the first major covered shopping centre in the country. In the 1990s the operations outside Europe were sold and further properties were acquired in Europe. The year 2003 saw the opening of the new Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham, which was one of the largest city centre retail developments ever built in the UK.