Landsec, the real estate group behind Trinity Leeds and Bluewater in Kent, said distressed retailers paid less than a third of the rent due last month.
Retailers paid only £ 9 million on the £ 31 million rent owed on June 24, which is 29% of the total. At the same time last year, its retail tenants paid 92% of the bill.
“With Covid-19, some customers have taken longer to pay their rent and we continue to have a constructive and constructive dialogue with our customers,” the company said in a statement.
Even though non-essential retail stores have reopened, the number of shoppers visiting streets and shopping malls is still far below normal. In England, during the fortnight since the non-essential retail trade opened on June 15, Landsec said attendance at its centers was 40% lower than last year. However, the Britons who made the trip were in the mood for shopping, spending a fifth more than in 2019.
Owners are constrained as retailers seek to close or reduce rents from underperforming stores. The situation was made worse by the pandemic, with many shops refusing to pay rent after the government temporarily banned the eviction of street businesses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland..
Earlier this week, Hammerson, owner of the Bullring in Birmingham, said that only 16% of the rent due in May and June had arrived, while British Land, owner of the Meadowhall center in Sheffield, said retailers had paid 36 % of rent due.
Last week, mall specialist Intu called the directors after some key debt providers refused to support a bailout deal. The company employs nearly 2,400 people and has 17 shopping centers across the United Kingdom.
However, the picture was not entirely bleak at Landsec, which collected 60% of the total £ 109 million in rent owed, with the majority of its office tenants paying. The company said it had set up a £ 80 million rent relief fund to support tenants hardest hit by the crisis and said £ 9 million in concessions had been granted so far.
In a sign that Landsec expects a recovery, the company also announced that it would resume paying dividends to shareholders in November, helping to raise shares by 1% on Friday to 580p.
Helal Miah, an analyst at the Share Center, said the prospect of a dividend was a surprise, given that the retail and hospitality businesses were under great pressure and it was likely that a large part of the current rent should be written off.
“We expect dividends to take some time to fully recover to pre-crisis levels,” said Miah. “Investors must take a cautious stance [property] sector, given that the crisis could force it to change its business model if homework were to remain, which would force tenants to have fewer offices. “