Bullring and Bicester owner Hammerson upbeat, ends rent concessions
Yet more positive news on commercial landlord rent collection and UK retail performance came on Thursday. Hammerson, the owner/operator of key retail venues including the Bullring & Grand Central in Birmingham and the Bicester Village Designer Outlet in Oxfordshire, said footfall trends in all its territories “remain encouraging”.
Seven-day averages currently sit at around 70-80% of 2019 levels, following an initial spike on reopening, it said. “Many retailers continue to report high sales and conversion rates as visitors “shop with purpose”, Hammerson said in its operational update.
Meanwhile, rent collection rates have also “continued to improve”, with 89% of billable rents collected for FY20, and 68% for H1 2021. Initial Q3 rent collection at 47% is ahead of Q1 and Q2 at the same point in time, and FY21 year-to-date collection now stands at 62%, it reported.
However, Hammerson also warned its tenants that it will no longer offer rent concessions. “We expect all rent collections to continue to improve as remaining Covid-related restrictions are lifted. We do not anticipate granting future concessions and all avenues to collect rents due are being pursued”, it warned.
News on commercial property rent collection has been positive across the sector since retail reopened in April.
Hammerson’s news follows a similar upbeat message from peer British Land earlier in the week. It said latest quarter retail rent payments to 24 June was standing at 71%, 24% ahead of rent collection at the same point for the December quarter and 17% ahead of the same point for the March quarter.
It also said footfall and sales hit 86% and 94% of pre-pandemic levels in the seven weeks since the reopening of indoor hospitality on 17 May.
Last week, commercial property giant Landsec also said it has made “good progress” on rent collections following over a year of widespread pandemic-induced disruption. The 22-shopping mall operator and joint owner of the Bluewater in Kent said 81% of the overall £103 million net rent due on 24 June has been paid. Regional Retail and the Rest of Central London collections stood at 73% and 71% respectively.
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