British Land collects 46% of retail rents as two-thirds of shops closed under lockdown

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British Land Company PLC (LON:BLND) said it collected less than half of retail rents for the past quarter while the latest national UK lockdowns meant only 32% of stores at its properties are open for trading in some way.


The FTSE 100-listed property developer, whose portfolio includes Sheffield’s Meadowhall shopping centre and the Broadgate office and retail district in London, said that from the end of November to Christmas Eve, around 73% of its customers’ stores were operational and footfall across its portfolio came in at 76% of the level achieved the previous year.


As for rents, of the GBP86mln due for payment in the December quarter, comprised of GBP42mln from retail clients and GBP44mln from offices, and excluding some coronavirus adjustments to support some customers, it had received 71% as of January 7, 2021.


Office collections were 95% but retail was just 46% for the December quarter, while it has now collected 72% of September retail rent, 73% of June and 49% of March.


Retail rent collection was “broadly in line” with the collection rates at the same point in the previous quarter, and the company said it expects collection rates to improve over the coming weeks.


Management’s efforts at capital recycling, set out as a strategic priority in November, have seen GBP19mln of retail sales in recent weeks, following London office sales of GBP177mln and GBP401mln in November and December.


“This activity demonstrates good progress against our commitment to recycle capital into accretive developments,” the company said in the update.

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