Performance and business highlights
• Sales turnover for June 2021 was 17% higher than June 2020 and was up 3.9%
compared to June 2019 (pre-COVID-19).
• Strong tenant demand resulted in 8% rent uplifts on renewals and relettings, with 301 deals signed during the twelve month period ending 30 June 2021 compared to 205 and 248 deals respectively in previous periods.
• EPRA vacancy rate improved at 30 June 2021 and was 1.3%, down from 1.5% at 31
March 2021 and extending our long-term vacancy record.
• Resilient property values only down 1.1% since December 2020.
• EPRA Net Tangible Assets of €40.86 per depositary receipt.
• Loan to value ratio (on the basis of proportional consolidation) stable at 43.8%.
• €125 million of loans renewed with sustainability linked facilities.
• Net earnings €0.95 (direct investment result) per depositary receipt for 6 months to 30 June 2021.
• Despite non-essential stores in our portfolio being closed on average 56 days and restaurants for 98 days, rent collection was 82% for the first half year of 2021.
• Shareholders’ approval to change the Company’s corporate governance structure by the termination of its depositary receipts structure.
• Each ten shares with a nominal value of €1 to be consolidated into one share with a nominal value of €10 each on Wednesday 15 September 2021.
• Conversion of the Company's depositary receipts into shares will take place on
Thursday 16 September 2021. On that date, depositary receipt holders will
automatically receive one share with a nominal value of €10 in the capital of the Company in exchange for each depositary receipt that they own, free of charge
and without any further action being required from them.
• Cash dividend of €0.50 and 1 for 18 scrip dividend per depositary receipt paid on 2 July 2021.
Board of Management’s commentary
High incidence of COVID-19 continued to affect our business during the first half of 2021 with further government restrictions on retail resulting in our non-essential stores being closed on average for 56 days, while restaurants were closed on average for 98 days during the period. In Belgium, Woluwe Shopping was closed for a four-week period from 27 March. In France, shopping centres comprising more than 20,000m² had to close from 31 January with only hypermarkets, pharmacies and a few other essential stores allowed to trade. These restrictions were extended to shopping centres of more than 10,000m² from 6 March before a general closure of non-essential retail during a third national lockdown that commenced on 3 April. In Italy, a colour-coded regional system placed restrictions on retail trade which led to closures of non-essential shops, particularly at weekends. Our shopping centres in Sweden remained fully open, as they have been throughout the pandemic, although government recommendations generally discouraged retail activity with some specific restrictions placed on food and beverage (F&B).
The lifting of government restrictions mainly during May 2021 has resulted in a swift rebound in Retail sales in our shopping centres, similar to the recovery that followed the re-openings last summer. During June 2021, retail sales increased by 17% across the portfolio compared to June 2020 with all sectors showing strong positive growth, particularly fashion and shoes (over 30%) and F&B (34%), sectors which suffered last year. It has been most encouraging to see the June 2021 overall level of retail sales at 3.9% above June 2019, i.e. before the pandemic started, with Sweden in particular outperforming with over 9% growth over this period. Footfall was still slightly down on pre-pandemic levels, demonstrating the high sales conversion rates and the increase in basket size which our retailers have been regularly commenting on.
Against this background, tenant demand for our shopping centres continued to be characterised by strong letting activity with 301 renewals and relettings completed over the last 12 months, producing a
rental uplift of 8%. Our vacancies remain at their historically low levels and have reduced even further to 1.3%.
The independent property valuations at the end of June showed reductions of just 1.1% compared to December 2020 and 1.9% compared to June 2020. During H1 2021 we completed the sale of Les Trois Dauphins in Grenoble and we are in advanced discussions on further property sales.
H1 rent collection has been steady and to date we have collected 82% of invoiced rent which will increase with clarification on the timing and extent of pledged government support covering the third
lockdown in France. With all our shopping centres now fully operational and with the vaccination programmes well advanced throughout Europe, we remain hopeful that any recurrence of the virus can
be managed without the need for further restrictions on our assets. Given those circumstances, we would expect normal trading conditions in our shopping centres to be maintained which should provide a solid base for stable income going forward.
Operational & financial review Retail sales
Following the general reopening of our shopping centres from May, there has been a quick and full recovery in retail sales in all our countries, and for the month of June 2021 turnover increased by 17% compared to last June’s levels, with every shopping centre and all sectors showing positive growth and with fashion, shoes and restaurants particularly prominent. Overall, retail sales in June and July 2021 were higher than pre-pandemic levels and were 3.9% above June 2019 and 1.8% above for July.
Like-for-like retail sales by country*
June 2021/June 2020 June 2021/June 2019
Overall 17% 3.9%
Belgium 23.3% -1.9%
France 10.5% 5.1%
Italy 22.7% 0.0%
Sweden 14.2% 9.2%
* Excluding extensions/redevelopments
see & read more on