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CapitaLand Retail China Trust malls experience rise in sales, footfall for Q3

CAPITALAND Retail China Trust (CRCT) tenants' sales have recovered 25.8 per cent quarter-on-quarter as Covid-19 restrictions ease, with third-quarter sales standing at 91.9 per cent of last year's.

The China mall real estate investment trust's (Reit) manager said in a business update on Friday that total shopper traffic at its malls for Q3 recovered 34.7 per cent quarter-on-quarter, and is now short 11 per cent from previous year's numbers.

CRCT's total portfolio occupancy rate stood at 93.7 per cent as at Sept 30, down from 98.3 per cent a year ago. About 331 leases, representing about 10.4 per cent of the Reit's gross rental income, are still up for renewal this year.

Weighted average lease expiry (Wale) stood at 2.4 years by gross rental income. Its gearing stood at 34.7 per cent as at Sept 30, compared to 33.6 per cent in the previous quarter.

It has S$356 million of available credit facilities, with total debt standing at S$1.3 billion.

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The Reit's manager said it remains "well-diversified", with tenants in over 14 trade categories such as food and beverage, sporting goods and apparel, as well as fashion and accessories. Its malls have a "high orientation towards lifestyle essentials and necessities", it said.

The Reit manager said it is looking to rejuvenate its offerings to capture new shopper demand. It will work on improving the quality of social dining, shift towards sustainability and green products, as well as embrace more healthy living and beauty products.

It is also exploring ways to engage shoppers through livestreaming platforms or tapping into seasonal marketing campaigns, to capture both offline and online retail sales growth.

From this year onwards, it will also work to extract value from Rock Square, a five-storey shopping mall located in Haizhu District. The Reit manager said it will reconfigure space at the third level for smaller and higher-yielding food and beverage tenants, which it expects will result in a 15 per cent return of investment.

It will also look to add more that 1,000 sq m of net lettable area over the next two to three years.

Units of CRCT closed down S$0.05, or 4.1 per cent, to S$1.17 on Friday before the announcement was made.

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