Hammerson, the UK and Europe retail centre owner, said only about a quarter of its UK tenants were open since the introduction of tighter pandemic restrictions from Monday. Picture: James White
Hammerson, the UK and Europe retail centre owner, said only about a quarter of its UK tenants were open since the introduction of tighter pandemic restrictions from Monday. Picture: James White

Only a quarter of Hammerson’s UK retail tenants are open

By Edward West Time of article published Jan 20, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - HAMMERSON, the UK and Europe retail centre owner, said only about a quarter of its UK tenants were open since the introduction of tighter pandemic restrictions from Monday.

These were either offering essential retail, Click & Collect, or takeaway and delivery services, Hammerson, which has a secondary listing on the JSE, said in an operational update yesterday.

Hammerson’s portfolio, as at June 30, 2020, was worth £7.7 billion (R160bn) and included 20 flagship city destinations, and investments in premium outlet villages through a partnership with Value Retail and the VIA Outletsjoint venture.

Its key retail venues include Bullring & Grand Central, Birmingham, Bicester Village, Oxfordshire, Dundrum Town Centre, Dublin, and Les Terrasses du Port, Marseille. The group’s centres in France were now subject to a 6pm curfew, primarily impacting food and beverage and leisure brands.

In Ireland, Hammerson’s flagships were only offering essential retail and takeaway or delivery services. Following the Irish government’s temporary ban on Click & Collect for non-essential retail, around a quarter of occupiers continued to operate.

Footfalls had declined in line with the introduction of the new restrictions, particularly across UK flagships and Ireland, the group said.

This had followed a recovery of footfalls during the Christmas trading period from November 30, 2020, to December 24, following the easing of lockdowns at the end of November.

In Hammerson’s Value Retail portfolio, just over half of the Villages in

the portfolio were currently closed, following the introduction of additional lockdowns across Europe.

Performance had been robust during the recent periods when Villages had been open and the virtual shopping service had expanded strongly during periods of closure. At a group level, 41 percent of first quarter 2021 rent due had been received, with the UK collecting 41 percent, France 46 percent, and Ireland 31 percent.

Hammerson said despite the challenges, a high level of liquidity was being maintained at group level, including access to a £1.25bn of available revolving credit facilities and substantial cash holdings.

Hammerson’s share price was 1.26 percent lower at R4.70 per share in intraday trade, trading in a relatively flat trend over the past three months. The share closed at R4.66 on the JSE yesterday.

BUSINESS REPORT

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