Jul 1, 2020
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British Land struggles to collect rents, but tenants' comp sales are rebounding

Jul 1, 2020

On the same day as Hammerson told us how much rent it had been able to collect across its retail properties, rival landlord British Land revealed its own struggles on this front.

Meadowhall/British Land

As of June 26, while it had been able to collect 88% of the rent owed for its office properties, in retail, only 36% of the rent due for the June quarter had come in. The company said it continues “to engage with customers on a case by case basis”.  

For smaller, independent operators, it has agreed rental waivers of £3 million in relation to the June quarter in addition to £2 million in relation to the March quarter. 

“We are holding productive discussions with larger retail and leisure operators who have been disproportionately affected by lockdown,” it said. “These include moves to monthly rents, deferrals and partial settlement of March and June rents, typically in return for the removal of lease breaks, lease extensions, reduced incentives or commitments for additional space”.

The Meadowhall and Drake Circus owner has been reopening its properties in recent weeks and said that as of this week, 894 of the stores it owns in England were open, representing 64% of its total. Some 116 stores in Scotland were open (50%) and 43 stores in Wales (64%). 

And it added that footfall is starting to recover. For the week beginning June 14, when restrictions were eased on non-essential retail in England, footfall at its English assets was 64% of the level achieved in the same week last year.  “Encouragingly, like-for-like retail sales for stores that were open were 91% of the same week last year,” it said.

It expects the “best located, open air retail parks to perform an important role in retailers' reopening strategies, and this was reflected in positive like-for-like sales for out-of-town stores open in England versus the same week last year”.

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