Landlord Shaftesbury warns of inflation threat to central London recovery


Rising inflation and a value of residing squeeze pose a brand new menace to the restoration of London’s West Finish since coronavirus restrictions have been lifted, in accordance with landlord Shaftesbury.

Cafes, bars and outlets on the FTSE 250 firm’s property, which incorporates Chinatown, Carnaby Avenue and components of Soho have month-to-month turnover operating 7 per cent larger than earlier than the pandemic.

However the firm warned that companies on its 16-acre property and elsewhere are “having to cope with a fancy vary of operational challenges”.

“Inflationary pressures, tax will increase, rising price of finance and provide chain disruption might weigh on the outlook for shopper confidence and spending,” the group mentioned.

Shaftesbury chief government Brian Bickell predicted inflation would proceed to rise for a while however mentioned the enterprise was properly positioned to climate the storm.

“The West Finish is just not immune however it has all the time had a extra prosperous buyer base, [and] its received the worldwide aspect,” he mentioned.

“We’re not into the world of luxurious — that would come below stress if persons are feeling much less prosperous.”

A rebound in buying and selling within the group’s property led to rising rents and a 7.5 per cent improve within the valuation of Shaftesbury’s portfolio within the six months to the tip of March. Internet earnings from property was £41mn within the six-month interval, 55 per cent above the identical interval a yr earlier

The property is now valued at £3.3bn, nonetheless 17 per cent under its pre-pandemic degree.

“It’s not fairly job carried out but however we’re a great distance down the street to restoration; additional down than we anticipated,” mentioned Bickell.

John Cahill, an analyst at Stifel, mentioned the corporate was more likely to be comparatively properly insulated from the worst impacts of the price of residing disaster.

“Central London is just not bulletproof, however in comparison with the remainder of the UK it’s as near as its potential to be.”

Shaftesbury is in talks with Covent Backyard proprietor Capco over a merger that might create a West Finish landlord with a market capitalisation of greater than £3.5bn. The corporate confirmed that talks have been superior however added there was no certainty a deal would occur.

Capco, whose tenants embody quite a few luxurious manufacturers, “could possibly be a bit extra uncovered to a decline in shopper confidence”, mentioned Cahill.

“I wouldn’t get too fearful concerning the Apple retailer simply but, however a high-end trend retailer? Possibly,” he added.

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