Retail rent collections are continuing to increase. In September, national retailer rent collections increased to 80% for the first time since the onset of the pandemic, according to data from Datex Property Solutions Tenant Track Report. Total retail rent collections trended behind national tenants at 77%, while non-national retail collections were 73.6%.

"The peak suggests that month-by-month, we are digging our way out of the deep Rent Collections hole created by the pandemic," Mark Sigal of Datex, tells GlobeSt.com. "Plus, bolstering this rebound is the fact that cities are getting better at supporting retail by making outdoor permitting for seating and operations easier to secure,  and coming up with retail opening standards that better reflect the COVID-19 health of a specific city or community."

Increasing rent collections are not a sign that the market has recovered, however. There is still a rocky road ahead for the retail market, particularly early next year when rent deferral negotiations expire. "We are not in the clear by any stretch for the following reasons," says Sigal. "One, many of the rent relief agreements negotiated between landlords and tenants in Q2, which are mostly rent deferrals and not abatements, are coming due in Q4, 2020 and Q1, 2021. This represents overhang that could create rent collections pressure at end of the year. Two, the government has failed, so far, to backstop the economy by agreeing to a new economic stimulus plan, which was a godsend in Q2 and into early Q3. Three many Retail categories remain extremely weak as noted by falling retail sales per square foot numbers and rising occupancy costs."

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.