Emaar Malls, the shopping malls and retail entity majority-owned by developer Emaar Properties, has reported a 23 per cent increase in 2015 net profit as occupancy at malls increased and base-rent renewals on leases climbed.

The Dubai-listed company said net profit rose to AED1.656bn ($451m) at the end of last year, compared to AED1.351bn in 2014. Fourth quarter net profit for the company, which owns and operates shopping malls in Dubai, reached AED 435m, a 16 per cent rise over the third quarter of 2015. The company did not give comparative figures for the fourth quarter of 2014 in a statement to Dubai Financial Market.

The full-year rental income grew by 11 per cent to AED2.992bn, compared to AED 2.694bn in 2014. Malls’ occupancy levels increased to 96 per cent in 2015, while the rent renewal rates rose 25 per cent for the leases renewed last year.

The number of total visitors increased to 124 million across malls operated by the company in 2015, a 9 per cent increase over 2014, with Dubai Mall accounting for 80 million visitors last year.

Apart from its flagship Dubai Mall, the company operates Souk al-Bahar in the Downtown Dubai area, Marina Mall and Gold & Diamond Park in the emirate.

Total gross leasable area across assets currently stands at about 6 million square feet. It will be expanded with another 1 million square feet built-up area at Dubai Mall’s Fashion Avenue, which will host 150 international and local brands, the company said in the statement.