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Westfield prepares for tough second quarter

Tom Shearsmith
30 April 2020

Europe’s largest retail property firm Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield said on Wednesday it saw limited effect from the coronavirus pandemic on its first-quarter revenue, but warned its impact will be reflected in the second quarter.

Westfield said in a statement as part of their Q1 results: "COVID-19 had only a limited effect on the Group’s Q1 turnover as rents are billed and paid quarterly in advance in most of Europe and monthly in the US."

The property giant later adds: "The impact of the pandemic will be reflected as of Q2, although at this time it is too early to reliably estimate such impact on the Group’s results for 2020."

Turnover for the first quarter rose by 1.8% to €956.6m (£834m), mainly due to property development and project management revenues in the UK, which was partially offset by the government mandated cancellation of major events in March.

The group's proportionate Gross Rental Income of the shopping centre division also increased by 0.8% to €679.1m in the period. 

The UK market was impacted by lower rents from tenants in CVA or administration, a reduction in parking income since the beginning of the crisis and a negative currency effect.

Westfield Stratford 2020
Westfield Stratford 2020

Since 24 March 2020, all the Group’s shopping centres have been substantially closed, except in Sweden and The Netherlands. Whilst the situation is evolving daily, a number of governments in the Group’s regions have taken steps to gradually lift the restrictions imposed.

Westfield also confirmed: "We are ready to safely re-open its centres and comply with all applicable health and safety regulations; for example - limiting visitor numbers, waiting lines, social distancing communication, hand sanitiser stations, regular in-depth cleaning, wearing masks mandatory for all staff and the use of fresh air instead of air recycling, as soon as permitted by local authorities."

"URW is also preparing, in collaboration with epidemiologists, its own demanding European health & safety standards to be labelled by Bureau Veritas."

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