More than half of shops trading, GPT says

Property developer GPT said more than half the shops at its shopping centres are trading this week, an increase on 35 per cent at the end of April.

Chief executive Bob Johnston gave the figures and said he expected more shops to follow in the coming weeks, according to a transcript ahead of GPT’s annual general meeting on Wednesday.

The reopening of shops comes as state and territory governments relax coronavirus restrictions, following greatly reduced infection numbers.

The owner of Westfield shopping centres, Scentre Group, on Monday said 57 per cent of shops at its properties were trading.

GPT will defer rent for shopkeepers as part of government efforts to help small and medium-sized traders through the coronavirus pandemic.

The economic impact is being felt by companies big and small. Mr Johnston said GPT will postpone its Melbourne Central office and retail development, and the residential development of its Rouse Hill shopping centre in Sydney.

The developer in March withdrew its earnings and distribution guidance for the year ending December 31.

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