British Land has revealed a significant boost in rent collection from retailers since stores have reopened as lockdown restrictions eased.
Bosses at the commercial property developer said 85% of June’s £87 million rent bill has been collected, with 71% of retailers paying up. It is split between £44 million from offices and £43 million from retail.
This was 24 percentage points ahead of the same point in December and 17 percentage points ahead of the collections for the first three months of the year, when non-essential retailers and restaurants were closed.
Rent collection from March is now at 91% overall, with 85% of retail rents collected.
According to British Land the number of customers – or footfall – was at 86% of pre-pandemic levels in the seven weeks since the reopening of indoor hospitality on May 17, with sales at 94% of pre-Covid heights.
Retail parks are outperforming, with customers preferring to drive to shopping locations currently, it added. Shopping centres were the poorest performers, with footfall at 74.8% of pre-pandemic levels.
As a result, the values of British Land’s retail parks rose 0.7% in the second quarter of the year. The company recently expanded its footprint in the retail sub-sector with the £82 million purchase of Thurrock Shopping Park in Essex.
Chief executive Simon Carter said: “With lockdown restrictions lifting, we have seen a notable improvement in activity across our markets and our business is performing well.
“On our retail parks, footfall and sales are close to pre pandemic levels, rents are stabilising with recent deals … and there are indications that retail park values are starting to rise as more investors target the market.”
He also revealed the company has seen a surge in demand for flexible office space, as businesses look to introduce hybrid working.