Shopping centre owner Hammerson has revealed that less than half the rent due in the second quarter has been collected despite retail restrictions easing.
The group, whose property portfolio includes the Birmingham Bullring, Highcross in Leicester and Bristol’s Cabot Circus, said on Tuesday (April 20) it had received 48% of second quarter rent due in the UK as market conditions remained “challenging”.
Across the wider group, rent received stood at 40%, with £27m still outstanding.
But the firm said a rise in shopper numbers across England was encouraging since the reopening of non-essential shops and retail parks on April 12, with around 90% of operators able to trade and footfall at its sites “competitive with pre-pandemic levels”.
The company said in a statement that it was continuing to “work hard with brand partners” to focus on improving collection rates on agreed rents.
“Looking forward to when all occupiers are able to operate, we expect collection rates for both the current year and full-year 2020 to continue to improve as restrictions are eased across territories,” the firm said.
The property giant also today announced the appointment of its new chief financial officer (CFO) and executive director. Himanshu Raja will succeed James Lenton who gave his resignation to the company in January.
Mr Raja, who was CFO at Countrywide from 2017 until its sale to Connells in March, will take up the role on April 26.
According to Hammerson, his gross annual salary will be £430,000 and his pension allowance will be 10% of base salary. He will also receive a restricted share scheme award of 75% of salary in line with the company’s remuneration policy, it said.
Stay up to date with our daily newsletter, email breaking news alerts and weekly round-ups. To sign up, find out more and see all of our newsletters, follow the link here
Rita-Rose Gagné, chief executive of Hammerson, said: “Himanshu is an experienced CFO who brings a blend of strong financial, strategic and leadership qualities. On behalf of the board, and all colleagues I look forward to welcoming him to the Company and benefitting from his insight and experience.”
Mr Raja said: “I am excited to be joining Hammerson during this period of unprecedented change in the sector and look forward to supporting Rita-Rose as she leads on the strategic review of the business to create value going forwards”
The news comes a week after the shopping centre owner confirmed it is in talks with a Canadian private equity firm over a deal to sell its seven UK retail parks.
Hammerson told investors that it is in “discussions” with Brookfield over the potential sale but there is “no certainty that a transaction will take place”.