Feb 4, 2022
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​Upbeat Shaftesbury looks to “uninterrupted trading growth”

Feb 4, 2022

Positive news came from Shaftesbury on Friday with the London-centric commercial property giant saying its recovery remains “on-track”.


Despite a “short period of disruption” caused by Omicron restrictions, it said visitors and office workers are returning and its near- and longer-term outlook “remains positive”.

The owner of 16-acres of prime real estate in the heart of London's West End, which includes the important Carnaby, Covent Garden and Seven Dials retail hubs, said the positive trading period between 1 October 2021 and 3 February 2022 was underpinned by a strong rebound in confidence and activity in the important pre-Christmas trading weeks.

And with the short-term disruption to footfall from Omicron now abating, the business was faced with the “prospect of an extended period of uninterrupted trading growth ahead with the return of visitors and office workers, together with an improving outlook for international and business travel”.

And that positive news continued with it noting demand, occupancy and rent collection were “robust”. That meant occupier demand is growing for all uses and each location, vacancy rates continues to decline and rent collection continues to improve. 

The vacancy rate on the company’s estate has fallen below 5% for the first time during the pandemic and 88% of tenants have paid their rent for the period to December 31, an improvement on previous coronavirus-affected periods.

Importantly to date, Shaftesbury said it has collected 77% of rents and expect further recoveries. Collection rates will continue to improve as footfall and trading bounce back in the months ahead, it predicted.

Leasing transactions with a combined rental value of £10.6 million were completed in the quarter, including 33 new commercial lettings and 27 lease renewals with a rental value of £7.9 million, while rent levels went up 14% to a total value of £1.4 million.

The firm’s net debt was also cut by 1.1% to £740.5 million.

CEO Brian Bickell said: “With the lifting of restrictions, visitors and the West End's important working population are now returning. The unrivalled attractions and lasting appeal of the West End to both local and domestic audiences, together with our curated, differentiated and affordable locations, will underpin both our continuing post-lockdown revival and our long-term resilience and prospects in the months and years ahead.”

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