JOHANNESBURG - RDI, the income-focused real estate investment trust (Reit) previously known as Redefine International, expects continued rationalisation of the physical store requirements of certain retailers and was, therefore, actively managing its overall exposure to this sector.
The company, which has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and a secondary listing on the JSE, reduced its overall retail exposure to 45.3% in the six months to February from 60% in August last year, with UK shopping centres now representing just 18.8% of its portfolio by market value.
Mike Watters, the chief executive of RDI, said yesterday that general investor sentiment towards the retail sector remained weak, with the ongoing themes of structural change, the impact of online retailing combined with slowing retail sales and weaker consumer confidence. He said this had resulted in certain retailers having to rationalise their physical store portfolios to be fit for purpose for the new retail landscape.
However, Watters said RDI retained a more positive outlook for its well located retail parks, with vacancy rates across the UK retail park sector of 6% at their lowest level for 10 years.
He said the company had been proactive in the management of RDI’s portfolio to address many of these challenges, adding that overall UK retail exposure had reduced to 30% of the portfolio, while occupancy across the UK retail portfolio had remand high at 97.5%.