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The income of the group of Akropolis companies remained unchanged
The global COVID-19 pandemic that began last year slowed down the planned growth of group of Akropolis companies, which manages shopping and entertainment centres and office buildings in Lithuania and Latvia. The combined income of the group of companies amounted to 77 million euros in 2020, remaining substantially unchanged when compared to 2019.
According to Manfredas Dargužis, the CEO of Akropolis Group company, despite the discounts granted to tenants, the higher income received by Akropole shopping centre in Riga, which operated for the full year, helped keep the 2020 income at the same level. Due to restrictions imposed on retail trade during the pandemic, last year Akropolis group companies had provided its tenants with 6.2 million euros in discounts on the lease and other fees, which also allowed some business partners to benefit from state subsidies.
“Given the strict restrictions, it was not realistic to maintain the tenant sales and visitor footfall at the same level as 2019. The footfall has not recovered to the pre-pandemic level since March of last year. About 40 per cent of the time last year, the Vilnius, Klaipėda and Šiauliai Akropolis only operated at a partial capacity, due to the pandemic. The restrictions on retail operations were more moderate in Latvia than in Lithuania, during the pandemic. However, even under these conditions, we maintained most of the partnerships with our business partners. It is also gratifying to note that after the stores resumed operations in Lithuania in April, the Akropolis centres welcomed visitors with more than 30 new and renovated stores,” stated Dargužis.
The annual 2020 footfall of the shopping centres in Lithuania and Latvia managed by the group of companies amounted to 30 million visitors, which is nearly 23 per cent less than in 2019. An increase in the visitor footfall compared to 2019 was only reported in January and February.
During the pandemic, the habits of shoppers also changed – people visited the shopping centres less often, but they bought more items at a time and planned their purchases to last for a longer period. Although the visitor flows did not recover, the value of an average shopping basket increased by almost a tenth.
The total sales of tenants of the Akropolis shopping and entertainment centres in Vilnius, Klaipėda, Šiauliai and Riga last year were 10.6 per cent lower than the previous year and amounted to 624.1 M euros. The turnover of travel agencies, entertainment facilities, cafés and restaurants fell the most in Akropolis centres.
“In 2020, we had planned the income growth for group of companies – this was expected due to the investments in Riga and renovations of the shopping centres in Lithuania. However, with the spread of coronavirus, our priorities changed dramatically. The most important task became ensuring a safe shopping experience in our shopping centers, so we allocated more than 500 thousand euros for that. We achieved this goal – despite some individual cases of COVID, none of the Akropolis centres became a source of spreading the coronavirus. Therefore, we feel that we have passed the safety tests and adapted ourselves to working in the conditions dictated by the pandemic,” added Dargužis.
In response to the current situation, Akropolis Group has taken the initiative and for the third time cancelled popular flash sales campaign JAMAM, which had previously taken place twice a year, as well as some instant discount campaigns. Additional security measures have also been implemented in the shopping centres including: a modern visitor footfall monitoring system, which allows real-time viewing of the number of customers present in the building at any time; equipment for automatic UV disinfection of the most frequently touched surfaces; and sensor-based disinfection stations.
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