Shaftesbury, the leading commercial property company in London, has recently announced positive news regarding its recovery. Despite experiencing a brief disruption caused by Omicron-related restrictions, the company has stated that it is seeing a return of visitors and office workers, leading to a positive outlook for the near and longer term. Shaftesbury owns 16 acres of prime real estate in London’s West End, which includes popular retail destinations such as Carnaby, Covent Garden, and Seven Dials. The company has witnessed a strong rebound in both confidence and activity during the pre-Christmas trading weeks.

Now that the short-term disruption to footfall caused by Omicron is subsiding, Shaftesbury anticipates an extended period of uninterrupted trading growth. This is primarily due to the return of visitors and office workers, as well as an improving outlook for international and business travel. The company has highlighted that demand, occupancy, and rent collection remain resilient. There is a growing demand from occupiers for all types of uses in each of the company’s locations, leading to a decline in vacancy rates and improved rent collection. The vacancy rate on Shaftesbury’s estate has now dropped below 5% for the first time during the pandemic. Furthermore, 88% of tenants have paid their rent for the period up to December 31.

Shaftesbury has managed to collect 77% of rents and expects further recoveries as footfall and trading bounce back in the coming months. In the last quarter alone, the company has completed leasing transactions with a total rental value of £10.6 million. This includes securing 33 new commercial lettings and renewing 27 leases, which collectively amount to a rental value of £7.9 million. Additionally, rent levels have increased by 14%, resulting in a total of £1.4 million. To further strengthen its financial position, Shaftesbury has reduced its net debt by 1.1% to £740.5 million.

CEO Brian Bickell has expressed great optimism about the future, affirming that “With the lifting of restrictions, visitors and the West End’s important working population are now returning. The West End’s unparalleled attractions, which appeal to both local and domestic audiences, along with our carefully curated, distinctive, and affordable locations, will contribute to our continued revival after the lockdown. This, in turn, will ensure our long-term resilience and prospects in the months and years ahead.” The positive outlook, strong performance in rent collection, and growing demand for occupancy indicate promising opportunities for Shaftesbury as the commercial property market continues to recover.

Here are two useful links related to the article:

1. Shaftesbury Official Website
2. Official Website of the Mayor of London