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British Land Co looking at options for buying retail parks

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(Reuters) - Real estate firm British Land Co said on Wednesday it was exploring further opportunities to buy retail parks and looking to invest more in its urban logistics portfolio following a surge in online shopping.

The company cited customer confidence in visiting open-air retail parks where social distancing can be more easily managed, adding these parks would help in the "Click & Collect" mode of shopping that has been popular during the COVID-19 pandemic.

British Land said it would submit planning applications for urban logistics development at Teesside and Meadowhall in the coming months.

The company added it expects market rents for covered shopping centres to take longer to stabilise than at retail parks, due to higher occupancy costs and lower visitor numbers during the pandemic.

British Land said 82% of the total rent was collected for the financial year 2021. Smaller rival Great Portland Estates said it had collected 84% of rent for the year ended March 31.

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)