Liberty Two Degrees has shopping mall recovery under close scrutiny

Johannesburg – Liberty Two Degrees (L2D) said the relaxed pandemic restrictions had stimulated early signs of a retail recovery, and average footfall for the four months to April was 101% above that for the same month in 2019.

Comparison with 2020 was avoided due to the lockdown, said the group in a pre-close statement Friday.

The average footcount at its retail malls such as Sandton City, Eastgate and Midlands Mall, was 82.4% in January 2021 compared with January 2019, 84.7% in February, and 79.5% in March.

Improved customer counting software had been implemented from April 1 allowing the group to count customers and analyse shopping patterns within the shopping centres.

The group has seen high customer zones across the portfolio include the apparel, food service and electronics categories. Stationery, entertainment and eyewear and optometry were shown to be low customer counter zones.

The new software was also able to assist from a safety aspect by identifying stolen cars, weapons or persons banned from the centres.

The quarterly turnover reflected the portfolio’s recovery post the onset of Covid-19, with first quarter of 2021 turnover down only 3.9% compared to the first three months of 2020.

As of 30 April 2021, 89.9% of rental relief negotiations had been concluded. L2D said it remained well capitalised with a loan to value of 23.6% and unutilised facilities of R247 million.

Liberty Two’s share price closed unchanged on Friday.

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