Shopping centres brace for Melbourne lockdown impact
Shopping centre owners have been slammed by the latest clampdown on retail in Victoria with restrictions hitting larger regional shopping malls particularly hard as they rely on discretionary retail and department stores.
More stores are expected to close in coming days with department stores that anchor shopping centres tipped to shut for weeks in Melbourne while Stage 4 restrictions are in place.
Larger shopping centres will be hit as only essential services like supermarkets and pharmacies remain open and discretionary categories like clothing and furniture are shuttered.
Malls stocks were hit on Monday with Scentre Group, operator of the local Westfield empire, sliding by 5.6% to close at $1.925. Vicinity Centres, that has a heavy exposure to Melbourne, also off by 2.7% to $1.27.
GPT, which has a major exposure to Victoria, including Melbourne’s Highpoint, dropped 3c to $3.85, while developer Lendlease that is building the multibillion-dollar Melbourne Quarter precinct dipped 3.1% to $11.
But shopping centres are expected to bear the brunt of the tough new restrictions that are likely to spark a new round of disputes with major chains seeking rent relief and smaller operators unable to recover and rents at the same level.