Scentre Group (ASX: SCG) today announced the Group has collected $1.8 billion in gross rent, for the 10-month period to 31 October 2021, an increase of $607 million since 30 June 2021.
During the nine months to 30 September 2021, the Group completed 2,010 lease deals, including 868 new merchants, welcoming 191 new brands to the portfolio.
Portfolio occupancy remains strong at 98.5% at the end of September 2021.
Scentre Group CEO Peter Allen said: “All Westfield Living Centres have remained open during the period, operating with COVID Safe protocols. Our QLD, WA and SA centres continued to trade well during this quarter, consistent with the first half of the year.
“Customers are again rapidly returning to our Westfield Living Centres in NSW, VIC and ACT now that restrictions have eased. We are also looking forward to welcoming back more businesses and customers to our Auckland centres from tomorrow.
“Over 95% of stores in our Australian portfolio are open and trading, with more stores to reopen over the coming weeks.
“The resilience of our platform together with the actions we have taken throughout the pandemic has seen our business perform well, isolating the impact of these restrictions to the lockdown periods.
“Gross rent collections for the 10-month period to 31 October 2021 are $187 million more than the same period in 2020, even though we have seen extensive lockdowns during this period.
“We have remained focussed on our strategy, leveraging the strengths of our core business by becoming essential to people, communities and the businesses that interact with them.
“During the period, we launched Westfield Direct, our aggregated ‘Click and Collect’ service as an extension of our in-centre experience. Through Westfield Direct, our business partners can leverage their store networks to increase productivity and reduce the cost of fulfillment.
“We are pleased to announce the commencement of the Westfield Knox redevelopment, which will transform Westfield Knox and enhance its value to businesses and the local community.
“During the September quarter, we completed our Employee Survey and are pleased to report a very high engagement score of 85%, demonstrating the alignment of our team with our strategy and ambition.
“Following the significant easing of restrictions and strong operating conditions, the Group is returning to the original distribution guidance provided in February 2021.”
Subject to no material change in conditions, the Group expects to distribute at least 14.00 cents per security for the 2021 year.