Sun Hung Kai offers relief for struggling retailers, plans to waive rents on days shopping centres are closed due to protests

By Lam Ka-sing kasing.lam@scmp.com / https://www.scmp.com/business/companies/article/3033089/sun-hung-kai-offers-relief-struggling-retailers-plans-waive?utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=contentexchange&utm_source=EdgeProp | October 16, 2019 9:59 AM SGT
Sun Hung Kai Properties, which owns 12 million sq ft of retail space in Hong Kong, said it will waive rents and other expenses on days its shopping centres remain closed because of the protests.
Hong Kong's largest developer by market value has had to close some of its shopping centres for days, especially on weekends because of the protests, as rampaging mobs damaged public and private property.
"Although this was meant to protect the safety of customers, businesses and staff, SHKP decided to waive the rents and other related expenses of these affected tenants. We hope this can ease the pressure ... and to stand shoulder to shoulder with the businesses to ride out the current difficult times."
The city's economy has been severely hit by the social unrest and threatens to undermine its role as Asia's leading retail hub. Retail sales in the city dropped 23 per cent year on year to HK$29.4 billion (US$3.76 billion) in August " the worst for a single month on record. Hong Kong's tourism too suffered its worst downturn since the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak in 2003, as arrivals slumped 40 per cent year on year in the same month.
Protesters vandalise New Town Plaza in Sha Tin. Photo: Sam Tsang alt=Protesters vandalise New Town Plaza in Sha Tin. Photo: Sam Tsang
It is more than likely that these figures could worsen for September and October when data is released.
At least eight of its shopping centres have had to remain shut for days. World Trade Centre, in protest-hit Causeway Bay, had to close operations for five days. Six other malls, including New Town Plaza in Sha Tin, where some of the worst violence has taken place, were closed on October 1 and 5. APM in Kwun Tong remained shut on October 1.
On Tuesday, Hang Lung Properties, which owns...