The owner of Lakeside and Trafford Centre shopping centres has warned of continuing struggles in retail as it downgraded its rental income forecasts.

Intu said a number of rescue deals were leaving retailers struggling to pay their rents, making the rest of 2019 "challenging". It also stressed that uncertainty around Brexit was causing retailers to delay signing new leases.

Like-for-like rental income, which compares with last year, would be down 4-6%, Intu said.

Intu saw its occupancy rate drop 1.1% to 95.6% in the first quarter. In particular, it was hit by closing HMV and New Look Men stores.

Interestingly, however, Intu said it has seen a rise in a new type of tenants taking up longer-term rents. In noted new 'Market Halls' at its Lakeside shopping centre containing smaller, independent food and drink retailers.

Matthew Roberts, chief executive of Intu, said: "Despite the current operating environment, I believe we have a very good business and am confident we can meet the challenges we are facing head on."