Alistair Weir, chief commercial officer of HTW, said in the latest Month in Review that while the retail sector has been hit hard by the pandemic, “the lockdowns have ended and there could be the prospect of much more business conditions. more stable” this year.
If there is anything good that has resulted from the prolonged shutdowns and the infusion of government aid, Mr Weir pointed to “over $200 billion in additional savings for households” – a fertile condition for the recovery of the retail sector.
According to the report, those that have been able to pivot since the initial hit of COVID at the start of the pandemic are those in the convenience, food, neighborhood and large-format asset classes.
Remote working arrangements, which have seen shoppers move to suburbs and regions, have boosted neighborhood and food centers.
Additionally, as cocooned workers with rising savings sought DIY and hobby supplies, large-format retail saw a significant increase in sales and continued to thrive, according to Weir.
On the other hand, the commercial director said that the CBD retail markets, as well as sub-regional and regional shopping centers, “have been massively affected by the closures” due to the lack of foot traffic as people work. at home, and there were no tourists or international students either.
“Overall, rents appear to be down 20% or more, and there has been a substantial increase in vacancies,” Weir said.
With border restrictions soon to be lifted and an influx of tourists and students “likely to create a rebound” for these badly affected asset classes, Weir said “the damage is likely to be long-lasting.” duration”.
For commercial investment markets, the report says returns have increased as investors’ pool of funds has swelled for investment opportunities.
Mr Weir said this was particularly noticeable in the resilient asset classes mentioned earlier and also for “specialist classes such as gas stations and fast food”.
Commenting on the impact of inflationary pressures on interest rates and the possible weakening of property yields, Mr Weir said: “It is likely that we have (finally) reached the bottom of the yield curve”, but also added that given the “weight of money available for investment”, it may take some time before the market recovers.
The report also listed a new set of market disruptors in the next phase of the pandemic: labor shortages, lingering supply chain issues, inflationary pressures and volatility in global financial markets.
Weighing in on these emerging disruptors, Mr Weir said: “It’s unclear whether these issues will resolve quickly, but there’s no doubt that there are broad headwinds looming and nothing on the recovery is is sure.”
Property refers to something tangible or intangible over which an individual or business has legal rights or ownership, such as houses, cars, stocks, or bond certificates.