Competition has intensified but SPH Reit to 'stay resilient'

SPH Reit will change the tenancy mix at Clementi Mall so that it will "be in a better position" for the longer term.
SPH Reit will change the tenancy mix at Clementi Mall so that it will "be in a better position" for the longer term. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - SPH Reit will continue to be "mindful of competition" amid the challenging environment for the retail industry, chief executive Susan Leng told unitholders on Friday.

She said that the reit, for one thing, is changing up the tenancy mix at Clementi Mall so that it will "be in a better position" for the longer term.

"Competition in the West has intensified over the last few years ... but we've grown from strength to strength," she said, noting that the mall, which completed its first renewal cycle last year, has seen sales grow 3.6 per cent year-on-year to $242 million.

Ms Leng was responding to questions from unitholders on Clementi Mall's negative rental reversion of 5.6 per cent at the reit's annual general meeting.

"It's the best time for us to put in the right mix," she said, adding that the reit is working to attract "good retailers" and strengthen its offering to a wider base of shoppers.

Dr Leong Horn Kee, the reit's chairman, noted that the Singapore economy is expected to grow modestly amid increasing uncertainties in the global environment, while lower tourist arrivals and manpower shortages have posed challenges to the local retail industry.

"We will remain focused on proactively managing the properties to deliver sustainable returns," he said. "We will also carry out continual asset enhancement to stay at the forefront of the retail arena."

Ms Leng said that the Reit is expected to "stay resilient" given that its portfolio, which also includes Paragon, caters to a diverse range of tenants and shoppers alike.

SPH Reit delivered a distribution of 5.47 cents to unitholders this financial year, which translates to a distribution yield of 5.7 per cent, based on the closing price of 96 cents as at Aug 31.

Its portfolio was valued at $3.21 billion as at Aug 31, which is 1.7 per cent up from last year's valuation of $3.16 billion.