// British Land value declines as Covid-19 affects performance at shopping destinations
// Following the outbreak, British Land collected 43% of rent due between March 2 and April 30
British Land has recorded a decline in valuations and retail rent as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect the company’s performance.
The property giant, which owns Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield among others, saw the value of its property drop by 26.1 per cent “as ongoing structural challenges were exacerbated at the year-end valuation date by the early effects of Covid-19”.
Consequently, British Land has put its search for a new chief executive on hold.
- Shopping centre owners issue outlook warnings as coronavirus bites
- UK retail space could shrink by 20%, says British Land CEO
The REIT began the search to replace British Land chief executive Chris Grigg, who has been in the position for over 10 years, at the beginning of this year, and was expected to announce his replacement at its full year results on Wednesday.
However no announcement will be made.
Following the outbreak, British Land had collected 43 per cent of rent due between March 2 and April 30.
British Land said that 40 per cent of rent owed has been deferred, four per cent forgiven, and that 12 per cent is outstanding, “primarily owed by strong retailers”.
A further one per cent has been switched to monthly payments.
The collapse of a variety of retailers into administration during the pandemic led to lost rent of £5.1 million.
During the lockdown, from March 23 until May 10, British Land said that footfall was down 78 per cent and like-for like-sales slid 82 per cent.
It reported that ”grocery anchored sites performed better, with footfall down 70 per cent and sales down 42 per cent”.
British Land chief executive Chris Grigg said he expected the retail landscape to change further as the pandemic drives shifts in shopping behaviours that were already evident.
”Longer term, it is our view that many of the macro trends that have informed our strategy will accelerate,” he said.
“This includes the growth of online shopping, reinforcing our focus on delivering a smaller, more focused retail business.
”We continue to believe there remains a role for the right kind of retail within our portfolio, especially assets that can play a key role for retailers in terms of fulfilment of online sales, returns and click and collect.
”This will particularly be the case for well located, open air retail parks, which lend themselves to more mission-based shopping and people may feel more comfortable visiting, as well as those London assets located conveniently in-and-around key transport hubs.”