// Hammerson warns tenants it will no longer offer rent concessions to hard-hit retailers
// It said “all avenues to collect rents due are being pursued”
// It has so far written off or waived £15m in rent this year
Hammerson has warned its tenants that it will no longer offer rent concessions to hard-hit retailers and businesses.
The shopping centre giant, which owns Birmingham Bullring, London’s Brent Cross and several other sites, said “all avenues to collect rents due are being pursued”.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Hammerson said £26 million in rents were waived, written off or still not yet due for 2020, with £15 million in the same situation so far this year.
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Hammerson’s announcement came as bosses revealed that the company has still only managed to collect 62 per cent of the £154 million rents due so far this year and 89 per cent of the £264 million due in 2020.
Around 68 per cent of rent due for the first half of the current year and 47 per cent of initial rent for the third quarter has arrived – up from the same point a year ago, Hammerson added.
Bosses said the easing of some Covid restrictions since the company’s last trading update on April 20 has seen an increase in customers heading to its shopping centres, but restaurants, cinemas and other leisure activities continue to suffer.
Footfall numbers are between 70 per cent and 80 per cent of 2019 levels, although this fell from an initial spike immediately after non-essential retailers and leisure services reopened in April and May.
Independently recorded footfall figures and retail sales data across the sector have shown that people are preferring to head to retail parks, with shopping centres failing to win over as many customers with restrictions eased.
“Many retailers continue to report high sales and conversion rates as visitors shop with purpose,” Hammerson said.
“These trends have been particularly positive in France during the first few days of the summer sales period.”
Bosses also pointed out that additional Covid restrictions have been announced in France, where it has a large portfolio of shopping centres, but added: “It is too early to assess the operational impact.”