Pandemic hits value of British Land portfolio

British Land has seen the value of its retail portfolio fall by 15 per cent as a result of the “significant impact” of the Covid-19 pandemic on retail.

The shopping centre owner, which owns Meadowhall in Sheffield, has seen a further 16 occupiers enter CVAs or administration over the last six months – accounting for 80 units.

Of these, British Land notes, 13 units have closed and 62 have seen reduced rents, overall resulting in a £11.6m reduction in annualised rents.

And, profits for the FTSE 100 firm fell by almost 30 per cent to £107m for the half year 20/21.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the company notes that it was encouraged by the pace at which footfall recovered in September and October.

Incoming Chief executive, Simon Carter, said: “Our first-half results naturally reflect the challenges in retail. Against this backdrop, we remain focused on active asset management, working to maximise rent collection and keeping our units occupied with successful retailers. There is a clear preference from shoppers and retailers for out of town, open air retail parks. Our approach and attractive asset mix means that prior to the November lockdown, we were delivering significant outperformance on footfall and retailer sales and a steady improvement in rent collection levels.

“We remain thoughtful and active in terms of capital allocation, executing £675m of sales since April, enhancing the strength and resilience of our balance sheet. We have also resumed the dividend on the basis of a fixed percentage payout of underlying earnings to provide maximum strategic and financial flexibility.”

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