File picture: James White
File picture: James White

Hyprop's foot counts have declined by as much as 71% in April

By Sandile Mchunu Time of article published Jun 11, 2020

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DURBAN – Hyprop Investments felt the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown, which hit the retail sector, as monthly foot counts in its malls dramatically declined by 71 percent in April compared to last year.

Hyprop, which owns malls such as Canal Walk, Rosebank Mall and Somerset Mall, took a hard knock in April as the country was placed under level 5 of the lockdown and the group only collected 43.6 percent of monthly billings. The collections improved to 54.6 percent in May as the country moved to level 4 of the lockdown as more categories of stores were permitted to trade.

The group said the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on the retail sector, and the resultant trading restrictions, was severe. 

“Only stores providing essential products and services were allowed to trade during lockdown level 5 from March 27 to April 30,” the group said. 

However, trading improved after easing to level 4 at the beginning of May and the monthly foot counts at Hyprop’s malls were only down by 39 percent compared to May last year. 

Trading in its malls improved at the beginning of June when the country was placed under level 3. The group said the percentage of tenants trading in the first week of June at the malls ranged from 67 percent to a high of 97 percent. 

Hyprop has been in negotiations with its tenants for rental collects, and they are working closely with their tenants to make trading possible and are optimistic that all retailers will be able to trade in the near future.

“We are currently negotiating rent relief packages with 86 of our national and larger retailer groups, and have concluded 37 percent of the negotiations with 63 percent in process. Our core focus in these discussions is tenant retention. Rent collections are improving as these negotiations are concluded with individual tenants, and should return to normal levels once all are finalised,” the group said.

Despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, Hyprop said its liquidity was strong and stable, with R1.6 billion of cash resources available in South Africa.

Hyprop operates three malls in Ghana and one mall in Nigeria. 

The group said all centres were operational and tenants were trading in Ghana after the country lifted the lockdown on April 21. 

The group has a portfolio in eastern Europe as well. Hyprop withdrew its distribution guidance for the year to end June at the beginning of April and has delayed the distribution of its interim dividend to October.

The group will release its full-year results in the last week of September.


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