Shopping centre owner Hammerson collects 38% of UK rents

Shopping centre owner Hammerson has told investors it only collected 38% of its UK rents due for the current quarter after shop tenants were hit by the pandemic.

The company, which owns Birmingham’s Bullring, said it collected 41% of rents across the global business, as the retail sector continues to struggle.

It said that, as of Tuesday October 14, all of its shopping destinations had reopened, with 94% of its tenants allowed to trade in the UK and Ireland.

However, rent payments have been slow to return after the Government extended its moratorium on lease forfeiture by commercial landlords until the end of the year.

An almost-empty Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham
An almost-empty Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham

The move means that landlords, such as Hammerson, will be unable to threaten to kick out tenants who do not pay their leases on time until the start of January.

It said it collected 33% of rents in Ireland for the current fourth quarter, while it secured 51% of rents in France.

The company stressed that it expects rent collection rates for the past two quarters to “continue to improve”.

Nevertheless, shares in the company slipped by 4.5% to 17.4p in early trading on Thursday.

Meanwhile, rival shopping centre owner Capital & Regional said it has received 51% of its fourth-quarter rents which were due in September.

The group said it has received around 56% of total rents due from March 25 to date and is in talks with retail customers regarding support for outstanding rents.

It also said that footfall for September was around 76% of the same period last year.

Shares in Capital & Regional were 25.3% higher at 46.2p in early trading on Thursday.