Hammerson Plc, a British shopping centre operator, has revealed its plans to raise a substantial amount of £825 million and adjust lease terms with UK retailers. The company has taken these measures in response to the difficulties it faces due to decreased rent collection, declining footfall, and a drop in property value. Its objective is to bolster its financial position and gain more flexibility as it focuses on its flagship destinations in the UK and Ireland, including esteemed shopping centres like Bullring and Brent Cross.

Apart from its properties in the UK and Ireland, Hammerson also owns retail properties in France. The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted mall operators, as tenants struggle due to reduced consumer traffic caused by stay-at-home orders. Consequently, there has been a surge in demands for rent relief and deferrals.

To address its financial challenges, Hammerson has outlined its plans to raise approximately £552 million through a rights issue and around £274 million by selling its stake in VIA Outlets, a successful European outlet malls operator. During the six months ending on June 30, the company experienced a 44% drop in net rental income, amounting to £87.3 million. Furthermore, the occupancy rate reduced from 97% to 94% when compared to the same period in the previous year. Occupancy rates for flagship destinations in the UK were recorded at 93%, in France at 94%, in Ireland at 96%, and for premium outlets at 93%.

Hammerson’s current actions demonstrate the company’s dedication to navigating the challenging retail landscape and adapting to the new realities brought forth by the pandemic. By securing significant funds and restructuring lease terms, Hammerson strives to safeguard its financial future and position itself for long-term growth. The company remains steadfast in its determination to endure the storm and emerge as a stronger and more resilient player within the retail industry.

Useful links:
1. Hammerson official website
2. Retail Gazette – Shopping Centres News