Hammerson says rent collection improves but footfall remains below pre-pandemic levels

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Hammerson (LSE:HMSO) PLC has seen a significant improvement in rent collection rates but footfall at its shopping centres remain below the levels seen in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.


In a statement, the shopping centre landlord said footfall in all its territories is now 15%-20% below pre-pandemic 2019 levels, but highlighted that some UK centres exceeded 2019 levels on the August bank holiday weekend and have continued to perform strongly since.


The company, whose flagship shopping centres include Brent Cross in London and the Bullring & Grand Central in Birmingham, said tenants in all its territories are now able to operate with minimal COVID-related restrictions and that it does not expect to grant further rent support.


In order to support tenants, Hammerson provided rent holidays and deferrals during the pandemic.


Hammerson said it now remains focused on collecting arrears.


“We do not anticipate granting future concessions and all avenues to collect rents due are being pursued,” the statement said.


In August and September, UK sales in the group’s centres were in line with 2019, while in France sales were 4% lower.


The group said rent collection rates have improved and in the fourth quarter to date, 70% of group billable rent has been collected, “significantly ahead” of any quarter since the first three months of 2020.


The UK continues to be the strongest performer, with 74% of rent collected, while Ireland stands at 71% and France at 65%.


Collections for full-year 2020 now stand at 94% and are 78% for the current year to date.


Hammerson shares fell 3.33% to 32.27p at midday.

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