Into administration for Intu
Owner of the Trafford Centre and Lakeside, Intu, has gone into administration.
The firm has said that it has not agreed a financial restructuring plan with its lenders, and has called in KPMG to administrate.
Shares listed on stock exchanges in both the UK and South Africa have been suspended temporarily.
Three administrators from KPMG's accountancy team have been appointed, and are expected to take charge "shortly".
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, Intu had been struggling, with some £4.6 billion in debt on its books.
The firm owns the Trafford Centre, Lakeside in Essex and Braehead, as well as 14 more UK centres and another three in Spain.
The company and shops in its centres support more than 130,000 jobs, the future of which is currently in doubt as a result.
It posted a report in March which said ground rent collected from outlets in its centres were expected to drop from almost £500 million to just over £300 million in a period of just one year.
All Intu centres were closed at least partially during lockdown, with more than half of shopping centre staff and around a fifth of head office employees on furlough.
Many of the outlets at Intu centres were not deemed to be "essential" shops by the UK government, and as such closed their doors temporarily - with some still not open today.
It is believed that KPMG will keep Intu centres open as is for the time being, despite the restructuring and administration agreement, but branding could change in the years to come.
In the same March report, it was stated that its debts made up around 68 per cent of its assets -- a 15 per cent jump from a figure of 53 per cent just 12 months earlier.
As of July 15th, non-essential retail outlets were reopened under UK government advice, provided that stores and staff observed strict social distancing measures and followed protocol recommended by Downing Street.
On July 4th, further services including hairdressers, restaurants and pubs will reopen in some kind of staggered fashion.