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Hammerson reveals just 41% of rents collected
19 January 2021

Commercial landlord Hammerson has revealed it collected just 41% of rent from its tenants as the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions took their toll on the business.

Bosses at the company, which owns Birmingham’s Bullring and London’s Brent Cross, said of the £61.5m rent due by the end of 2020 just £19.8m was collected.

Around £12.9m has been deferred or not yet due, with £28.8m outstanding. The 41% figure is lower than the 63% collected in the second quarter of 2020 at the previous peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Data revealed in Ireland, where Hammerson owns a handful of shopping centres, rent collection was just 31%, the UK was 41% and France was 46%.

In the UK, flagship sites, typically found in city centres, were particularly hard-hit, with just 36% of rent collected – although retail parks had a better time with 64% paid.

Bosses said they saw encouraging boosts in customer numbers during the Christmas trading period from 30 November to 24 December 24 the second English national lockdown ended and the tiering systems allowed for more stores to reopen.

However, city centre sites continued to struggle to return to levels seen in pre-pandemic times, with footfall hitting just 60% of the previous year.

Retail parks were more positive, with customers typically feeling more comfortable visiting outdoor sites with parking facilities to avoid public transport. Hammerson said footfall on these sites was at the same level as a year ago.

During the Christmas run-up, 75% of tenants in the UK were open or offering click and collect.

So far this year, however, this has fallen to just one-in-four open – either as “essential” retailers, non-essential stores offering click and collect, or restaurants and cafes providing takeaways and deliveries.

French and Irish stores saw similar restrictions. Hammerson’s Irish portfolio is also seeing only a quarter of occupiers open and French sites are being hit by a 6pm national curfew.

Just over half of Hammerson’s Value Villages are closed although virtual shopping services at the sites have expanded strongly while closed, the company added.

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