Landsec upbeat on rent collections but retail lags office repayments
Positive news for giant retail landlord Landsec. The UK’s largest commercial property firm said Friday it has made “good progress” on rent collections following over a year of widespread pandemic-induced disruption.
As of 7 July, the joint owner of Bluewater said 81% of the overall £103 million net rent due on 24 June has been paid. The company owns/operates another 22 shopping centres as well as the giant Bluewater mall in Kent.
Regional Retail and the Rest of Central London collections stood at 73% and 71% respectively, but that was well behind office rental collection which stood at £59 million out of £60 million due (95%). ‘Urban opportunities’ and ‘subscale sectors’ were the weakest at 50% and 43%.
Of the £18m of rent outstanding, Landsec said £6m relates to customers who have “withheld payment pending documentation of agreed concessions”.
Landsec added: “We continue to take a proactive approach to addressing the challenges the pandemic presents to our people, our customers and our business. In early April 2020, we established a customer support fund of £80 million for occupiers who most need our help.”
But the company continues to face major challenges. At Bluewater alone for instance, Fashionnetwork.com has spotted plenty of empty shop units. And with Arcadia’s demise, sizeable spaces for Topshop/Topman, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, Burton and Evans have also fallen empty. The mall also housed both Oasis and Coast that went under and became online-only last year and Gap rents large space there at present that is closing.
That said, Bluewater remains a key destination and one that companies choose for flagships. For instance, Zara selected the mall to unveil its new concept store, rather than choosing one of its central London locations.
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