Retail Property The malls have fears
A slow news week so let’s check in with the retail property sector, which is somewhat rattled right now about the troubles at Intu Properties, a JSE-listed property owner focused on UK shopping centres. Intu is R100bn in the hole and has just gone into administration, and asked the JSE to suspend its listing. At issue, say certain sage analysts, is that level of debt: you need to be looking at a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 35%-45%, or even less, to be on the safe side, they say, and you can’t assume that you’ll simply ride out the downturn. Keillen Ndlovu, Stanlib’s head of listed property funds, says that property owners need to keep up with the times, upgrading their malls and keeping abreast of the trends motivating shoppers, tenants and the competition. One such trend is, of course, the stampede to online retail, which is fast showing its mettle not simply as a source of products and services but also as a different and perhaps no less entertaining form of shopping experience.
Comment: And that will no doubt growing in leaps and bounds now, because of COVID, and post. Personally, we’d love to ‘visit’ our local mall in our PJs.