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Despite COVID pandemic, in-person shopping still strong: RioCan REIT CEO

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The chief executive of RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust says the COVID-19 pandemic has created a volatile business environment, but he still sees strength in brick-and-mortar retail.

Jonathan Gitlin says the last two years have been filled with challenges for the trust’s tenants, but he’s noticing shoppers flock to stores because in-person retail gives them more control over their shopping experience.

While e-commerce has proven popular during the health crisis, he expects it to operate in tandem with brick-and-mortar retail.

Read more: Canada lost 200K jobs in January amid Omicron-driven shutdowns

Gitlin’s observations were made after the company said Wednesday that its rent collection rate reached 98.6 per cent in its most recent quarter, a slight climb from 96.2 per cent at the same time last year.

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The Toronto-based real estate trust says its committed occupancy level across its portfolio of about 207 properties totalled 96.8 per cent in its fourth quarter, up from 95.7 per cent

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Net income for the three months ended Dec. 31 amounted to $208.8 million, up from $65.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2020.

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