The grim assessment is more pessimistic than the Bank of England’s take on the crisis. Last week the Bank said it expects the economy to return to its pre-pandemic state next year. The Bank also said the economy is set to be hit by the worst recession in more than 300 years.
However, it is worth noting that policymakers said it was not a forecast.
In the 12 months to March, Land Securities Group Plc wrote down its portfolio by £1.2billion, reports Bloomberg.com.
During this time retail property values slumped.
And on Tuesday the firm, which is the second-largest real estate investment trust by market capitalization in the country, fell by 15.6 percent in London trading.
The performance marked the steepest drop since the Brexit vote was announced in June 2016.
Land Securities incoming CEO Mark Allan said: “It seems prudent to plan for more business failures and higher vacancy rates across our portfolio, in particular leisure and retail.”
Mr Allan is set to lead a strategic review of the company’s long-term objectives over the coming months as the UK slowly emerges from lockdown.
Land Securities said key construction projects has been slowed due to the pandemic.
The building of Deutsche Bank AG’s new headquarters in the City of London has suffered a setback of at least two months.
And touching on the hit the retail sector has taken since the outbreak, Mr Allan said the decline of stores will be accelerated by the pandemic.
High street shops were already suffering due to the rise of online fashion sites.
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Mr Allan told Bloomberg.com there is simply “too much retain property in the UK”.
He said in the coming months the public would see “some of that repurposed”.
He added: “We may see what may have taken five years to play out, play out in the next 12 to 18 months.”
Boris Johnson published his lockdown exit plan on Sunday.
Fashion and homeware stores could potentially reopen their doors as early as June if it is safe to do so.
Non-essential retailers can reopen if they prove the store is a safe place for employees to work and customers to shop.
They must meet a string of new Covid-19 safety and security guidelines.
The Government’s 50-page document laying out its plan says: “Opening non-essential retail when and where it is safe to do so, and subject to those retailers being able to follow the new Covid-19 Secure guidelines.
“The intention is for this to happen in phases from June 1; the government will issue further guidance shortly on the approach that will be taken to phasing, including which businesses will be covered in each phase and the timeframes involved.”
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