Covid hammers retail REIT shares

Published by Estates Gazette, 1st September 2020 

Real estate investment trusts specialising in retail property have seen their shares plummet during the coronavirus pandemic.

Alongside a collapse in intu’s share price ahead of the company entering administration, Hammerson’s stock has slumped, according to data from Bowmore Wealth Group, an investment manager. The company has issued new shares at a near-95% discount to shore up its balance sheet.

REITs for which retail property accounts for at least half of the portfolio have suffered average share price falls of 46% so far in 2020, according to Bowmore, compared to an average drop of 25% for all REITs and a 20% fall for the FTSE All-Share.

“2020 was always shaping up to be a tough year for retail property, but nobody foresaw just how bad it would be,” said Owen Moore, investment manager at Bowmore’s asset management division. “Covid-19 has accelerated some already-negative trends for retailers and left a lot of their landlords struggling with significantly reduced rent rolls.”

Bowmore’s research comes as the London Stock Exchange prepares to announce this quarter’s promotions and relegations from FTSE indices of the largest listed companies, a move that could see British Land fall out of the FTSE 100.

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