Insights 🔎 - A View From...
Insights - A view from Partner Justine Gillingham
The impact of Coronavirus on food, leisure and retail outlets has been devastating for many small businesses.
As a managing agent we have seen the impact up close everyday as part of our role to collect rent and service charge payments. We have maintained a constant dialogue with all tenants to review their business finances, grants and loans, action taken to furlough staff and cut other costs and importantly the level of cash reserves. We have often tested this as a measure of a tenant’s financial capacity to ‘ride out’ the lockdown and positively re-open for business.
The quality of a traders online offer can also be a good measure of their financial strength. We are now working on June quarter rent arrangements as well as monitoring success as units re-open again. In a number cases we have prepared plans to support traders with summer events, but the nature of the location and the costs need to be properly balanced against the benefit to traders. The management of outdoor spaces and events will be exposed to the risk of bad weather and the additional cost of social distancing measures. More access and control measures will be needed, rubbish and waste could increase and outdoor WC’s may need to be provided. On top of this the lack of visitors, students and tourists could significantly reduce footfall and spend. We need to adapt to the changes needed and keep an open mind to all new ideas. We are certainly talking to traders more than ever before and we are committed to maintaining this approach. We have started to see more community based local business and community opportunities with rents based on a greater shared risk and a greater shared reward.