JSE-listed Growthpoint Properties has published an investor update for the nine months ended 30 March 2020 which also includes a Covid-19 business impact update. The group said that of all the domestic sectors, retail has been the worst-affected by the pandemic.
The group said that it is still dealing with rental relief issues applying to April and May but has managed to settle with the majority of the big five national retailers.
“Fast food and restaurant tenants were showing the most strain pre-Covid, which will now be exacerbated. Many other trading categories’ arrears are expected to close at levels higher than we’ve ever seen before.”
Growthpoint said that foot counts were ‘decimated’ in April but improved from early May when many of the retailers were able to open, albeit with limitations on the products they could sell.
“Since then, footfall numbers have bounced around and remained negative across the portfolio,” it said.
“The only increase in footfalls was on the day that child grants were collected, and only a handful of centres experienced this increase. June foot counts to date have also shown some improvement and are currently at 80% of June 2019’s.”
Growthpoint added that a number of businesses are still to reopen, placing further strain on its properties.
“The final retail categories are expected to reopen imminently, such as restaurants and personal care retailers.
“The reopening of gyms, however, is expected to be very slow. Growthpoint has six gyms in our retail portfolio. Failures in these categories are unavoidable.
“There is still much anxiety about the spread of coronavirus from both retailers and shoppers, and it is going to take a long time for historic shopping patterns to resume.”
Virgin Active says that government is yet to provide guidelines that it must follow, but it expects some level of restrictions or conditions imposed upon it.
“Until we have a date from the government and know what their requirements are, we are prepping for all possible scenarios,” said Virgin Active.
If necessary, Virgin Active has prepared the capability to use a “book your slot” system, which would require members to book their gym sessions in advance.
Planet Fitness said that it is also working on plans to reopen its facilities.
“Planet Fitness is working around the clock to adhere to government protocol around exercise and social distancing to ensure that when day one comes, we are ready to open and it will be safe to do so,” Planet Fitness told MyBroadband.
Planet Fitness said that it put in place several measures before the lockdown officially begun to ensure that its members were safe.
These included removing certain equipment from the floor and reducing the number of people allowed in the gym at any one time.