Monday, 16 March 2020

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield dented by COVID-19, cuts costs




Malls giant Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield said on Monday that it’s being affected by international government measures to battle coronavirus, as well as consumer caution around the issue.


“The COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve rapidly and in recent days, several governments in the markets in which Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) operates have taken measures to contain the spread of the virus. These measures will impact the group’s operations,” it explained.

At present, local authorities have required all non-essential stores to close in France, Spain, Poland, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. “As such, the group’s shopping centers in these markets are substantially closed. Some limitations to trading hours also apply in Denmark,” it added.

But while its other shopping centers, including its two London Westfield malls, “continue to trade as normal for now,” they’re also seeing “reduced footfall”, and URW “expects other governments may adopt similar measures in due course”.

At this stage, it’s still “too early to determine the situation’s impact on the contractual obligations of the group’s retailers and other partners or to estimate the effect of any case-by-case support measures the group may decide on,” it said. It’s also too early to work out the impact on its own earnings.

URW has started “active dialogue with its tenants on how to address these unprecedented challenges”. In addition, it’s “actively reducing non-staff expenses, deferring non-essential capital expenditure and will make use of any relevant facilities or arrangements provided by the various national authorities to assist companies through the crisis”.

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