Landsec, the largest commercial property firm in the UK, has reported positive news in relation to its rent collections despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. The company has made “good progress” in collecting rent, with 81% of the total net rent due on 24 June, which amounts to £103 million, being paid.

However, the rent collections varied across different sectors. Regional retail and the rest of Central London saw collections at 73% and 71% respectively. On the other hand, office rental collection stood significantly higher at 95%. The weakest sectors in terms of rent collections were identified as “urban opportunities” and “subscale sectors,” with collections at 50% and 43% respectively.

While there is still £18 million of rent outstanding, it is important to note that £6 million of that amount is related to customers who have withheld payment pending the documentation of agreed concessions. Landsec has taken an active approach in addressing the challenges posed by the pandemic and has set up a customer support fund of £80 million to assist occupiers who require help.

Despite the positive news surrounding rent collections, Landsec faces major challenges, particularly at its Bluewater mall. Fashion Network has noted a significant number of empty shop units at Bluewater, especially following the collapse of Arcadia. The closures of popular brands like Topshop/Topman, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, Burton, and Evans have resulted in significant vacant spaces. In addition, Oasis and Coast, which transitioned to online-only last year, were also previously situated at Bluewater. Gap, another tenant, is also closing its store.

However, Bluewater remains an important destination and continues to attract companies for their flagship stores. For instance, Zara chose Bluewater to introduce its new concept store instead of selecting one of its central London locations. Despite the challenges, Landsec is committed to seeking opportunities and addressing the impact of the pandemic on its employees, customers, and overall business.

Useful links:
1. Landsec website
2. Fashion Network