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Bullring owner says no more rent holidays as shoppers return

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The owner of the Bullring has revealed its latest rent collection data (Jacob King/PA) (PA Wire)
The owner of the Bullring has revealed its latest rent collection data (Jacob King/PA) (PA Wire)

Commercial property owner Hammerson has revealed the number of shoppers heading to its sites has improved to between 15% and 20% below pre-Covid levels.

But the owner of the Birmingham Bullring and London’s Brent Cross said despite the numbers still being below pandemic levels, all rents must be paid, adding: “We do not anticipate granting future concessions and all avenues to collect rents due are being pursued.”

Last year Hammerson said £30 million in rents were waived, written off or still not yet due, with £20 million in the same situation so far this year.

Around 94% of rents owed from last have now been paid and 78% of this year’s have also been paid, the company added.

We still have concerns on whether levels will be sustained without international visitors returning ahead of the winter trading period

Hugh Carrow, an analyst at Liberum

Sites in the UK have performed best, including some shopping centres seeing footfall exceeding pre-pandemic levels on the August bank holiday weekend.

UK sales are now in line with August and September 2019 but these were dragged down by business in France with sales down 4%.

Rent collected in the final quarter of the year is at 70%, with 74% of rent collected in the UK, Ireland is at 71% and France at 65%.

Hugh Carrow, an analyst at Liberum, said: “While still subdued, we expect rent collection to continue to improve slightly with encouraging footfall trends given low restriction levels, although we still have concerns on whether levels will be sustained without international visitors returning ahead of the winter trading period.”

Shopping centres have struggled more than high streets and retail parks in terms of recovery since Covid restrictions eased, with shoppers keen to avoid confined spaces.

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