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Diversified property manager GPT will continue to withhold his advice due to lingering uncertainty in its retail division and disruptions in rent collection from tenants.

The $ 10 billion ASX-listed fund manager said in a September quarter update that funds from operations and distribution forecasts for 2021 remained withdrawn because COVID-19 restrictions had not been relaxed only recently.

CEO Bob Johnston said the disruption to retail during the quarter experienced by the group had a “huge impact on cash inflows.”

COVID uncertainty continues to cloud GPT’s outlook.

The centre’s total sales fell 45.7% and total specialty sales fell 54.2%, compared to the previous corresponding quarter in 2019, the group said.

On average, only 27% of stores were open in New South Wales and Victoria in the three months, mostly essential retailers.

Cash receipts in the quarter represented 63% of gross billings, while receipts in October were around 60%.

“Early indications suggest that we will see customer visits to our shopping centers return to levels seen before the closures,” he said.

But the company is not holding its breath on a swift takeover of its flagship Melbourne Central shopping center, which, like the rest of central Melbourne, has been hammered by the world’s longest foreclosure.

A rebound for Melbourne Central is expected to be longer as the mall depends on the return of office workers, students and visitors to Melbourne’s CBD, he said.

“Vacancy rates in the office sector remain high but are stabilizing and we continue to make progress in leasing despite extended closings,” said Mr. Johnston.

Occupancy of GPT’s stabilized assets has increased and it has completed a number of leasing transactions in recently completed developments, 32 Smith Street in Parramatta in Sydney and Queen & Collins in Melbourne.

On the positive side, the group expanded its logistics operations during the quarter, strengthening its presence in the portfolio to 26%.

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