// Westfield says it is ready to open stores with safety precautions
// The centre owner said Covid-19 has had a “limited effect” on its business
Westfield shopping centre owner Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield has said the coronavirus pandemic only had a “limited effect” on revenue in the first three months of 2020.
However, the company warned that Covid-19 is expected to impact business heavily in the second quarter.
Turnover for the first quarter rose by 1.8 per cent to €956.6 million (£834.2 million), mainly due to property development and project management revenues in the UK.
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This was partly offset by disposals completed in 2019 as well as the cancellation of major events in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, turnover grew by 0.8 per cent to €673.9 million (£588 million) during the period.
The proportionate gross rental income (GRI) of the shopping centre division increased by 0.8 per cent to €679.1 million (£592.2 million).
URW said it would support its tenants throughout the pandemic through a combination of rent relief and deferral.
The company has since reduced service charges at its shopping centres.
“Covid-19 had only a limited effect on the group’s Q1 turnover as rents are billed and paid quarterly in advance in most of Europe and monthly in the US,” URW said.
”The impact of the pandemic will be reflected as of Q2, although at this time it is too early to reliably estimate such impact on the group’s results for 2020.”
The shopping centre giant said from April 20, centres reopened in Germany, while Austria is expected to follow on May 2, Poland on May 4, France, the Czech Republic and Denmark on May 11, and Spain between May 24 and June 3.
URW said it was ready to safely reopen its centres and comply with all applicable health and safety regulations.