THE owner of Southampton’s Westquay Shopping Centre has warned its tenants that it will no longer offer rent concessions to retailers and other businesses hard hit by the pandemic.

Hammerson said “all avenues to collect rents due are being pursued”.

The commercial property giant’s other UK sites include Birmingham Bullring and London’s Brent Cross.

During the pandemic, Hammerson said £26million in rents were waived, written off or still not yet due for 2020, with £15m of rent payments in the same situation so far this year.

Hammerson’s announcement came as bosses revealed that the company has still only managed to collect 62 per cent of the £154 million rents due so far this year and 89 per cent of the £264m due in 2020.

Around 68 per cent of rent due for the first half of the current year and 47 per cent of initial rent for the third quarter of 2021 has been paid – up from the same point a year ago, the company added.

Bosses said the easing of some Covid restrictions since the company’s last update on April 20 has seen an increase in customers heading to its shopping centres, but restaurants, cinemas and other leisure activities continue to suffer.

Footfall numbers are between 70 per cent and 80 per cent of 2019 levels, although this fell from an initial spike immediately after non-essential retailers and leisure services reopened in April and May.

Independently recorded footfall figures and retail sales data across the sector have shown that people are preferring to head to retail parks, with shopping centres failing to win over as many customers with restrictions eased.

Hammerson said: “Many retailers continue to report high sales and conversion rates as visitors shop with purpose.

“These trends have been particularly positive in France during the first few days of the summer sales period,” the company said.

Bosses also pointed out that additional Covid restrictions have been announced in France, where it has a portfolio of shopping centres, but the company added: “It is too early to assess the operational impact.”