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Sasseur Reit to reopen Kunming outlet mall after virus-related closure

SASSEUR Real Estate Investment Trust (Reit) will be reopening its Kunming outlet mall on March 11 following approval from relevant local authorities, its manager said on Monday.

The manager added that it is working closely with the Reit's sponsor Sasseur Cayman Holding to reopen its three remaining outlet malls in Chongqing, Bishan and Hefei.

As at March 9, the Reit's sponsor has gradually reopened five outlet malls in Guiyang, Nanjing, Changchun, Lanzhou and Xi'an after getting clearance from the relevant local authorities.

The sponsor had previously closed its seven outlet malls in China, located in Hangzhou, Changsha, Nanjing, Lanzhou, Xi'an, Guiyang and Changchun, according to a Jan 28 announcement by Sasseur Reit.

Sasseur Reit's manager said a series of marketing and promotional activities will be implemented to welcome shoppers back to the Kunming outlet mall when it reopens this Wednesday.

Precautionary measures will be put in place to ensure the health and safety of all customers, tenants and employees. These include the use of only two exits for entry into the mall, with temperature screenings before entry is allowed.

All shoppers, tenants and employees will also be required to wear face masks when they enter the mall. The cleaning and sanitising of facilities and public areas within the mall will be stepped up as well.

Vito Xu, chairman of Sasseur Reit's manager, said appropriate measures to alleviate cashflow pressure for tenants will be taken. These include waiving property management fees and all other fees during the closure period. The waivers are also applicable for Sasseur Reit's four outlets.

"We are grateful that there are zero infection cases among our 40,000 employees and tenants thus far," he said.

Anthony Ang, chief executive of the Reit manager, said that the sudden virus outbreak had resulted in the loss of sales for winter apparel and delayed the sales for spring apparel at Sasseur outlets. That said, due to work stoppages and the corresponding loss of income during this period, consumers will be more price-sensitive and demand for discounted products would be higher, he noted.

Sasseur Group has also planned a series of marketing and promotion programmes for the grand reopening, hence it is confident that sales will recover quickly, Mr Ang added.