Precinct focused retail-centred REIT, Liberty Two Degrees (L2D), has noticed an improved operating environment among retailers and consumers.
The company has reported increased customer visits to its malls with portfolio foot count for April 2022 up by 14.6% when compared to April 2019.
Its retail occupancies remain strong at 97.3% ahead of the industry benchmark with a positive trend in turnover growth at 13.6% for Q1 2022 when compared to Q1 2019.
“As we navigate the uncertainties of global proportions that impact our domestic economy and business, we remain committed to the goals we have set in future-proofing our business. We continue to drive value and positive recovery in all that we do. As we rebuild for sustainable growth, the role of leadership to drive positive outcomes has become increasingly important in this disruptive environment,” says Amelia Beattie, Chief Executive of L2D. “We are encouraged that despite increasing pressure on household discretionary spend, the L2D portfolio recovered ahead of the market when comparing the Stats SA annual retail sales up to March 2022”.
L2D’s turnover for the first three months of 2022 was higher than the corresponding months over the past three years. When considering the annual turnover to March 2022, the company’s portfolio is 2.1% ahead of the twelve months leading up to the onset of the lockdown (April 2019 – March 2020). This recovery translates into annual trading density growth of 5.5% versus March 2019.
Despite the impact of the pandemic, L2D’s portfolio has witnessed a significant recovery, reaching occupancy levels with pre-Covid-19 levels at 97.3%. Its office portfolio achieved an occupancy rate of 88.1% in April this year which remains ahead of the MSCI Q4 2021 office benchmark of 84%. “We remain hopeful as the office sector is starting to stabilise, evidenced in the interest received from tenants wanting to occupy office space”.
“Our malls continue to evolve and operate as iconic spaces, with Sandton City attracting almost 17 million customers over the year in 2021 and has already seen 6.9 million customers visit the mall in 2022 up to April,” adds Beattie.
“Our commitment to investing in our portfolio of quality assets underpins our financial and operational performance by ensuring our offerings remain relevant. Notwithstanding the improved operational metrics, we remain realistic on the uncertainties which prevail. The real task will be to ensure that we build on this momentum and focus efforts on the execution of our strategic priorities, to ensure that the gains we are making, translate into improved financial results and a stronger business in 2022“, she concludes.