// British Land sees more than £2bn wiped off the value of its retail sites and offices
// It posted its 3rd straight year of annual losses, with pre-tax losses of £1.05bn for the year to March 31
// British Land collects just 71% of rent across its retail estate, compared to 99% from office estate
British Land has seen more than £2 billion wiped off the value of its retail sites and offices as the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns wreaked havoc on its estate.
The property giant, which owns shopping centres including Meadowhall in Sheffield, reported a 10.8 per cent tumble in the value of its property portfolio, from £11.2 billion to £9.1 million at the end of March.
The firm posted its third straight year of annual losses, with pre-tax losses of £1.05 billion for the year to March 31 against losses of £1.1 billion the previous year.
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On an underlying basis, profits reduced by more than a third, down 34.3 per cent at £306 million as many of its office block and retail tenants were left unable to pay rent for most of the year.
Its retail sites took the brunt of the hit from the pandemic, with values plunging by 24.7 per cent, while its suffered a 3.8 per cent fall across offices.
British Land said it was able to collect just 71 per cent of rent across its retail estate, with many shops closed for most of the year due to coronavirus restrictions.
By contrast, it collected 99 per cent of office rents.
British Land said it had seen an “encouraging” performance across its estate since non-essential retail started to reopened on April 12, with shopper numbers and sales recovering to pre-pandemic levels.
However, it cautioned retail markets were set to “remain tough and we expect rents to decline further”.
“We are seeing signs of stabilisation on retail parks and our central case is an additional rental decline of around five per cent… shopping centres, which have been more impacted by Covid-19, are likely to take a little longer to stabilise,” British Land said.
With flexible homeworking set to stay, commercial land said it was targeting higher-end campus-style developments, mixing retail, office, meeting and housing space.
with PA Wires