Shaftesbury CEO Brian Bickell told the Standard: ‘The need for people to wear masks is just a minor inconvenience if it means we can all enjoy Christmas and New Years that we didn’t have last year’
East End’s landlord Shaftesbury has hailed a “remarkable bounce back” since Independence Day, even as the value of its estate property has plummeted to £126 million.
The firm, known for its buildings in Chinatown and Carnaby Street, saw its property portfolio fall by 3% to £3 billion in the 12 months to 30 September. That period included lockdowns and times when rent support was given to some tenants.
But chief Brian Bickell pointed to encouraging trends in the second half, especially since July 19 when social distancing in most cases ended and the legal requirement for face coverings was removed.
He said: “This has been followed by a marked jump in activity, as domestic visitors and workers have returned, well on their way to return to our villages, or in some cases already exceeding their pre-pandemic levels. . ,
Face masks have resumed in stores and on public transport starting today because of the threat from the Omicron version of Covid-19, but Bickell was upbeat.
Asked about the resumption of face masks, Bickel told the Standard: “With the level of visitors in the West End at 2019 levels, requiring people to wear masks is just a minor inconvenience if it means That we can all enjoy Christmas and New Years. We didn’t have last year. Anything is better than the second lockdown.”
Property values in Shaftesbury began to improve in the second half and the FTSE 250 company said there is “continued” demand for possession of the property.
Loss before tax decreased from £699.5 million to £194.9 million and recommended a dividend of 4p, which was not the case a year earlier.