Shopping centre operator Hammerson said today it received less than half of the rents due for the first quarter as stricter Covid-19 restrictions aggravate conditions in Ireland, the UK and the rest of Europe. 

The lockdowns have battered shopping centre operators as their struggling tenants have been squeezed by stay-at-home shoppers, amid calls for rent relief and deferrals. 

Hammerson owns a 50% stake in the Dundrum, Ilac and Pavillion shopping centres in Dublin, and a 40% stake in Kildare Village. 

The company said 41% of first-quarter rent due had been received at the group level, with the UK collecting similar levels for the period. 

The company said its destinations in France have been impacted by evening curfew, while the Ireland flagships are only offering essential retail and takeaway or delivery services. 

Hammerson, which pointed to some recovery during the Christmas season, said the new lockdown has shut about three-quarters of its occupiers in the UK and caused a drop in footfall. 

Last week, real estate firm British Land also said it had received less than half of the rent its retailers owed during the fourth quarter. 

Hammerson said it has waived £21m, or less than 10% of the £265.2m owed by the tenants, for fiscal 2020.