SHOPPING MALLS RETAIL CONSUMPTION NATIONAL
By IFAB MEDIA - NEWS BUREAU - April 26, 2023 | 22 3 minutes read
“Buoyant retail sales and improved rental yields are expected to lift the revenue of mall operators by 7-9 per cent this fiscal. That would be tantamount to around 125 per cent of pre-pandemic, or fiscal 2020, revenue,” it said in a statement.
The rating agency said that the growth in revenue will be on a high base of FY23. During the last fiscal, CRISIL noted that "return to social normalcy after mobility curbs were lifted led to substantial growth in footfalls and a robust 60 per cent rise in revenue to around 116 per cent of the pre-pandemic level".
“Additionally, high occupancy levels, solid profitability backed by cost-optimisation measures and strong balance sheets will keep the credit risk profiles of mall operators healthy this fiscal,” the agency said. CRISIL Ratings has analysed 28 malls, which have leasable space of around 18 million square feet area spread across 17 cities, with a total debt of over Rs 8,000 crore.
Typically, mall operators generate around 85 per cent of their income from minimum guaranteed rentals as per lease agreements, while the rest is linked to the revenue performance of the tenants. DLF, Brigade Enterprises, Macrotech Developers (Lodha Group), Nexus Select Trust, Phoenix Mills, Lulu Group, Pacific India, Unity Group and Ambience Group are operating Grade A shopping malls across major cities. "The exceptional revenue growth last fiscal was on a significantly weak base. In fiscals 2021 and 2022, revenue stood at 55 per cent and 74 per cent of the pre-pandemic level, respectively, as mall operators had waived off rent and allowed flexible payment terms to tenants in a bid to prevent any major decline in occupancy," the statement said. As the impact of Covid-19 waned and occupancy increased, the average per square feet leasing rate jumped 12-14 per cent in fiscal 2023, it added. "Considering the healthy performance of the sector, capex is expected to pick up over the near to medium term. While a sizeable part of it may be funded by equity from global investors, a large debt contracted for new developments will bear watching," the agency said.
On the flip side, CRISIL said that the impact of the slowdown in advanced economies, and the manifestation of the lagged effect of repo rate hikes of the past can curtail discretionary spending, including retail sales. “This aspect will, therefore, be monitorable.”