Hammerson delivers COVID-19 impact update

Hammerson today provides an update on the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on its shopping complex and retail park business.

The company stated, 'In this period of unprecedented disruption, our priority is and will always remain the health and wellbeing of our colleagues, consumers and partners, whilst protecting the long-term value of the Company.

'In each of our markets, we therefore continue to follow government advice and best practice closely, and we are taking appropriate steps to mitigate the spread of the virus. In particular, we are committed to supporting our colleagues and their families through this difficult time, and are hugely grateful for the contribution they have already made to the business in extraordinary circumstances.

'In these circumstances, we believe we should support our occupiers, particularly smaller and independent brands that are less resilient to the closure of their space in our centres. We have received a variety of requests for rent deferrals, monthly payments, and waivers, which we are reviewing on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the business model and risk profile of the occupier, alongside the aid made available by the relevant governments.

Across the UK retail portfolio, properties and stores have been shut in line with UK government advice since 24 March other than for access to essential retail as defined by the UK government.

Overall, as at the end of 27 March (Q+2 day), the group received 37% of UK rent billed for Q21. Adjusted for rent deferred, switched to monthly payment, and a nominal proportion waived, it has received 57% of rent due. The firm anticipatea both figures to increase as temporary agreements are implemented and further cash is collected.

One flagship destination is fully closed – Victoria, Leeds. The essential stores currently trading constitute around 30 units across the UK portfolio, accounting for c.4% of UK flagship passing rent.

Overall, as at the end of last week, Hammerson has received 35% of UK flagship rent billed for Q2. On an adjusted basis, it has received 55% of rent currently expected. Q+7 day collections rates for UK flagships destinations averaged 96% during 2019.

In line with the approach taken for its UK flagship destinations, all non-essential stores are shut on UK retail parks. To date, 36% of Q2 rent billed has been collected from retail parks, or 62% on an adjusted basis. On the group's UK other portfolio, collection rates are higher and we have collected 49% of Q2 rent billed, or 61% on an adjusted basis.