Hammerson has said it will exit out-of-town retail locations by selling seven of them to private equity Orion for £400m, amid store closures on the UK high street and rise of online stores.

The company has been trimming debt and fixing its balance sheet by divesting some its portfolio to focus on its flagship sites, premium outlets and city quarters across Europe.

Hammerson owns a 50% stake in the Dundrum, Ilac and Pavillion shopping centres in Dublin, and a 40% stake in Kildare Village. 

"Against a challenged retail and investment backdrop, we have exited the retail parks sector," CEO David Atkins said in a statement.

The company announced plans in 2018 to sell shopping centres that house a number of large retail chains following its failed takeover of rival Intu Properties. It has so far sold 14 retail parks and earned £764m.

Hammerson still holds an interest in a park that is held as a joint venture with Aberdeen Standard Investments and is marked for sale.

Intu too has been struggling with debt and had recently said it was in talks with its largest shareholder and new investors to raise funds to shore up its balance sheet.