Hammerson receives £75m government support

Bullring Birmingham Hammerson
Bullring Birmingham

Hammerson, the owner of Birmingham’s Bullring Shopping Centre has had to tap a government support scheme after most of its tenants skipped rent payments in June.

The company were issued £75 million of debt under the government’s COVID Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF), after collecting just 16% of the rent it was due last month, according to The Sunday Times.

The news comes after Hammerson revealed that it had accessed the UK Government’s coronavirus support scheme in order to bolster its balance sheet.

Hammerson’s rental income has been largely affected by the moratorium (legal authorisation to debtors to postpone payment) on tenants being evicted, which is due to expire at the end of September 2020.

In order to aid growth of consumer confidence post-lockdown, Hammerson has launched a Crowd Checker feature to make shoppers feel as comfortable as possible when visiting its indoor shopping destinations.

The new Crowd Checker feature uses artificial intelligence to track the exact number of people in stores in real-time, to “provide shoppers with live updates on how popular a centre is in real time, so that they know when to visit to beat the crowds”.

Fellow shopping destination group Westfield has been issued £600m of debt under the scheme.

The impact of Coronavirus on retail destinations continues to cause some concern, as Intu confirmed the appointment of administrators last month.

In a statement, the group said “insufficient alignment and agreement has been achieved”.

The group struggled under a £4.5 billion debt burden for the past year, but has been hammered by significantly lower rent payments from retail tenants since the coronavirus outbreak.

The quarterly rent day for Q2 fell this week and, according to Re-Leased, landlords collected just 13.8% of rents due from retailers on the day with more expected to be recovered in the coming weeks.