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Retail landlords cheer easing of lockdown as shops reopen across London

R

etail landlords were among those cheering the reopening of stores on April 12, as shopping centres owners look to move on from a year when rental income slumped.

Property owners have had seen a number of tenants struggle to pay rent due to lockdowns forcing them to shut sites for months.

Rent holidays and deferrals have been in place for a number of occupiers, while landlords have also seen some high street brands permanently close branches or seek rent cuts.

Today ‘non essential’ retailers can reopen after being closed for most of the year to date.

Scott Parsons, chief operating officer UK at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, which is behind London’s Westfield malls, said: “We are reopening today, hopefully for good, with an optimistic outlook as we welcome back shoppers eager to return to physical retail. With ONS data revealing household savings rose 16.1% in in Q4 2020, we expect this will boost spend in stores – very welcome news for businesses and jobs in the retail industry.”

Mark Allan, the boss of property giant Landsec which is behind One New Change in the City, said: “Excitement has been building since the Government confirmed that non-essential retail in England could open and the demand is certainly there – recent polling for Landsec suggests that more than eight in 10 people are planning to visit the high street or shopping centres this week.”

Melanie Leech, who leads the British Property Federation, said: “Property owners have been working incredibly hard to keep buildings secure, safe and well maintained, and to support their tenants to ensure that as many as possible have been able to survive, reach this point and open their doors once again to customers.”

Leech added: “Physical stores are still an important part of the mix, and now with many outdoor eating areas already fully booked up for months on end, significant consumer demand should give both retail and hospitality tenants and property owners the confidence to forge a more positive future together.”

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