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EuroBrief: Landlords prep for reopening, and more European retail and real estate news

May 21, 2020

URW and Landsec prep UK malls for June reopening

Landlords Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield and Landsec are preparing to reopen their UK malls as they wait for lockdown measures to ease. The companies have established social distancing protocols and increased other safety measures as non-essential retailers prepare to open shop for the first time since March. Evening Standard

UK: Matalan opening 15 stores in retail parks

Matalan plans to reopen 15 of its 280 UK stores now that the country allows homewares sales. “These stores are all located on out-of-town retail parks, with parking outside, enabling us to effectively adhere to social distancing guidelines,” the retailer said. “High-street stores, stores in shopping centres, our clearance stores and our stores in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will remain closed.” HullLive

Ingka Centres reopens 15 properties

Ikea sister company Ingka Centres has reopened 15 of its 38 retail centres. Its malls in Poland, France, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Croatia reopened this month, joining centres in China and Germany that reopened in April. Its properties in Italy, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Spain and the UK remain closed. Seven centres in Sweden and Finland have remained open with additional health and safety guidelines throughout COVID-19. Across

Asda: Both sales and customers’ economic anxieties are on the rise

Asda said like-for-like sales rose by 3.5 per cent year over year for the first quarter thanks to COVID-19-related stockpiling. But the company said its customers fear the country is entering a depression. “Our latest income tracker data shows that household incomes declined 0.6 per cent in March, the first drop since 2017, and 90 per cent of customers told us they are worried about a depression in the economy,” said CEO Roger Burnley. Reuters

M&S expects depressed demand through 2021

UK hypermarket chain M&S outperformed its own sales expectations for the first six weeks of its new financial year, bringing in 150 million euros more than it had expected. Nevertheless, the company anticipates that the COVID-19 impact will last through the 2020-21 year and that subsequent demand may be depressed. Reuters

French Connection suffers cash crunch

Fashion retailer French Connection said online trading has risen by 44 per cent since March but the company is still likely to run out of cash to fund operations in the next few months. All 68 of its stores closed during March because of COVID-19 lockdowns. The Guardian

Out-of-town retail parks are less vulnerable to store closures

High-street retailers are more vulnerable to fallout from COVID-19 lockdowns than are other UK merchants, according to Savills. Some 1,500 stores are at risk of closing because their operators have filed for administration in the past six months. About 12 per cent of these are in out-of-town assets, whereas 43 per cent are on high streets and 37 per cent are in shopping centres. Retail Destination

Star Cinemas opening first UK theatre

Star Cinemas, which operates in Arizona and California, will open its first UK unit at Concourse Shopping Centre in Skelmersdale, Lancashire. The company aims to offer food-and-beverage that’s more affordable than other UK cinema chains. Property Magazine International

German centre opens drive-in cinema

IPH’s Blautal-Center in Ulm, Germany, opened a drive-in cinema on the parking deck. “As center manager, it is up to us to think outside the box in these challenging times and support both tenants and owners,” said IPH Centermanagement managing director Lars Jähnichen. “We are expecting 300-600 additional visitors at the Blautal-Center through the evening performances alone.” Across

German Jesuit college will become mixed-use complex

Signa is renovating Alte Akademie, a former Jesuit college in Munich, to include 8,000 square feet of retail, as well as office and residential space. Completion is scheduled for 2023. Property Magazine International

By Brannon Boswell

Executive Editor/SCT