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Covid-19 Economy Impact
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COVID-19 and beyond: The future of Retail

Landlords have provided relief measures to accommodate retailers ranging from temporary rental holidays, rental reductions and deferments.

Amid the Covid-19 global pandemic, many retailers have experienced a demand shock in light of travel and movement restrictions. Landlords, however, have provided several relief measures to accommodate these retailers ranging from temporary rental holidays, rental reductions, and deferments with some exploring lease restructuring and fit-out subside.

While the short-term situation for retail is challenging, the disruption is expected to be positive for some, with essential retailers, such as grocery and home stores, experiencing a surge in online purchasing. However, we expect fashion and F&B retailers to continue to struggle for the medium term.

In addition, Covid-19 is pushing organizations to streamline supply chains, with retailers leveraging on existing infrastructure – using a designated area of the retail store to co-ordinate delivery & collections and investing in platforms to enhance digital channels. This has been successfully demonstrated in mature markets who are acting quickly in this change, but we have yet to see this come through within this region.

Moving forward, the pandemic is expected to accelerate the restructuring of retail lease agreements, potentially shifting agreements to:
Shorter lease lengths, allowing landlords to ‘refresh’ centers and cater to customer's ever-changing demands.

  1. Turnover rents, possibly becoming the prevailing structure in retail lease agreements, and whilst this income is not fixed, the landlords will benefit from the retailer’s performance and can work together to improve the offering of the unit and the mall to equally benefit.
  2. Apportion online sales to landlords. Amid Covid-19, this topic is currently the most notable discussion point among landlords and retailers, globally.
  3. Include pandemic clauses.

Restructuring Retail Leases

Restructuring of retail lease agreements is anticipated to become increasingly popular during Covid-19 and beyond, helping to support the resilience of our retail development to future shocks, while at the same time promoting sensible rental growth and visibility on tenant performance. We are yet to see these restructured lease agreements within the Middle East and would hope to see this become more of a focus for retail landlords.

Internationally, landlords often determine that it is in their own best interests to restructure leases. Just like other business owners, landlords act in their own best-perceived interest. With this goal in mind, landlords must determine what will occur if the tenant does not obtain the relief sought. In many instances, the tenant will default, leaving the landlord to pursue remedies available under the lease, including remedies available against one or more guarantors. In other instances, tenants want changes to non-rent terms, often non-monetary terms. With some creative negotiating, the changes need not adversely affect the landlord.

This article is taken from CBRE. Click here for the full article.

Photo Credit: Kyre Song on Unsplash

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