Sasseur Reit reports 'encouraging' first-day reopening sales at China malls

An outlet mall in Chongqing which is part of the portfolio of Sasseur Reit. PHOTO: SASSEUR GROUP

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Sasseur Real Estate Investment Trust's (Sasseur Reit) manager on Tuesday (March 17) reported "encouraging" first-day reopening sales at its outlet malls reopened since they were shuttered amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The four malls in China brought in sales totalling 11.5 million yuan (S$2.3 million) on their respective reopening dates, a 129 per cent increase from the corresponding dates a year ago.

The Kunming property was the first to reopen on March 11, followed by the Hefei mall on March 13 and the Chongqing and Bishan ones on March 15.

In late January, the real estate investment trust's (Reit) manager closed the malls for periods ranging from 44 to 49 days, in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus in China.

There was "strong pent-up demand" from shoppers who had to minimise their social and shopping activities when the Covid-19 outbreak was "very severe" in China, said Anthony Ang, chief executive of Sasseur Reit's manager.

"Now that the situation has greatly improved, we are seeing a healthy flow of shoppers back to our malls and it is now business as usual," Mr Ang added.

While there will be an impact to the Reit's sales performance for Q1 2020 due to the closures, its sponsor - Sasseur Cayman Holding - will ensure that the Reit continues to receive the fixed component of the resultant rent according to the entrustment management agreement.

The Reit will also receive the variable component of the resultant rent, which is pegged to actual sales, Mr Ang said.

The Sasseur group has also actively planned and rolled out marketing and promotional events to celebrate the reopening of the outlet malls.

Sasseur Reit units were trading at $0.59 as at 2.59pm on Tuesday, down $0.02 or 3.3 per cent.

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