The arrival of dall was accompanied by a new surge in the pandemic in Italy, and in other countries worldwide, with infection rates growing all over the country. As a result, beginning on 23 October first a few regions, and then the Italian Government, adopted new restrictions which limit shopping center operation.
More in detail, the latest Presidential Decree (Decreto del Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri or DPCM), adopted by the Italian Government on 6 November, calls for both national measures and additional regional measures with varying degrees of intensity based on the level of risk in each area.
This decree reduced the operation of shopping centers mainly during the weekend (but in more critical areas, also during the week), allowing only stores providing merchandise deemed essential (like foodm pharmaceutical and para-pharmaceuticals goods, tobacconists and newsstands)* to remain open.
With regard to Romania, the national restrictions adopted are limited to evening curfewa, while the local governments have enacted more stringent measures like closing restaurants and cinemas, as well as game and entertainment centers. Contrary to a few of our competitors, our portfolio is, however, less exposed to the catogories subject to the restrictions.
IGD will continue to monitor the situation carefully and guarantee the highest hygiene and safety standards already adopted by our shopping centers in the past. Our centers, however, have never been totally closed, even during the full lockdown last spring, continuing to guarantee the community’s access to essential services.
With the D.P.C.M of 17 May 2020 which allowed the reopening of all non-essential activities starting from 18 May 2020, the gradual lockdown exit phase officially began in Italy.
With regard to IGD’s portfolio, a series of measures have been implemented consistent with the national guidelines proposed also by the CNCC, in order to promote safe traffic flows in the shopping centers: increase in cleaning and sanitization, mandatory masks, hand sanitizer and thermometers (thermocamera), control of traffic entering, circulating and leaving the malls with strict social distancing.
The operating performances recorded as of the end of May have shown signs of recovery with trends gradually improving: footfalls improved week after week and in September reached around 87% of the traffic seen in the same period of the prior year. An even more significant positive signal comes from tenants’ sales, which were down by around -2.9% in September, less than footfalls; the figure indicates an increase in the propensity to purchase and in the average ticket (+14.1% vs 2019).
Occupancy remained at high level, thanks also to a series of new openings in IGD’s shopping centers, testimony to the confidence that retailers continue to have in our business model.
These results prove the good work done by the Company in guaranteeing high safety and health standards adopted for center shoppers and employees, on the quality of the retail offering and the communication with all its stakeholders.
“The operating results posted by IGD’s shopping centers in the last few months testify to the resilience of the Group’s portfolio, comprised largely of “local” assets, dominant and points of reference in their respective catchment areas.” Claudio Albertini, IGD’s Chief Executive Officer
Following the spread of Covid-19 in Italy and the consequent health emergency, beginning 23 February 2020 different local administrations and the national government gradually put more restrictive measures in place for our shopping centers, initially in the Milan area, subsequently in Lombardy and a few regions of northern Italy and, lastly, as of 12 March 2020 (Presidential Decree of 11 March 2020), throughout Italy. The same situation occurred in Romania, starting from 22 March 2020, the government has adopted restrictive measures very similar to those in force in Italy.
Subsequent to the lockdown, IGD moved quickly to guarantee that all the people working at its headquarters and shopping centers could continue to be operational and customers could continue to make purchases in complete safety. Our shopping centers never closed as they house retailers which provide essential goods and services.
The virus containment measures imposed resulted in significant changes being made to the operation and organization of shopping centers: changes which have been successfully implemented up until now.
“The sector in which we operate has already been undergoing continuous and rapid change for several years which has posed great challenges and called for the ability to adapt quickly, but the serious situation that has developed in our country and worldwide due to the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic calls for further massive efforts which we are, obviously, pursuing with great determination, aware of the important role that a leading Group has in a sector like ours.”
We immediately implemented a series of measures consistent with its sustainability policies relative to all its stakeholders:
Since 2007, we work with CNCC (National Association of Shopping Centres), an umbrella association that brings together, in a single entity, all private and public organisations connected in various ways to the shopping centre, retail park and factory outlet industry. In this period, so difficult for our sector, we continue to be actively involved in its activity by covering various roles in the bodies and working groups of the association itself to find common guidelines to deal with the exit from the lockdown phase.
Below are some images of the institutional campaign to raise awareness of the importance, safety and usefulness of shopping centers.