Shaftesbury, UK posts larger half-year loss as pandemic hits retail By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People are seen in the Chinatown neighborhood as the government raises the local COVID-19 alert level to ‘High’, amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London, UK October 17, 2020. REUTERS / Toby Melville

(Reuters) -Retail lessor Shaftesbury Plc (LON 🙂 reported a larger half-year loss on Tuesday as pandemic-related restrictions hit the operations of its core tenant group of non-essential retailers, restaurants and cafes.

Commercial real estate companies with high exposure to non-essential retailers are among the hardest hit in the UK property sector, battling large valuation deficits and declining footfall, as rental income has declined due to strict COVID-19 restrictions .

The London-based real estate investment trust, which owns a 16-acre portfolio in the heart of the city’s West End, said the after-tax loss for the six-month period ended March 31 was £ 338.5million ( $ 479.89 million), up from a loss of £ 287.6 million a year earlier.

The company said its EPRA net tangible assets (NTA) – a per-share measure that reflects the value of its buildings – plunged 21.5% to 5.83 pounds, and the valuation of its wholly-owned portfolio has declined 10.1% to 2.8 billion pounds.

Last week, pubs and restaurants reopened their indoor spaces, and cinemas and hotels resumed operations, after non-essential business premises opened in mid-April – all as part of the exit plan progressive UK government restrictions.

“Since the reopening began on April 12, we have seen an encouraging increase in demand for space and rental and a return in footfall and spending at our sites,” said CEO Brian Bickell.

Last week, commercial real estate companies Land Securities Group and Great Portland Estates reported heavy annual losses, mostly affected by poor performance in their retail portfolio.

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