But the struggles of even the biggest retailers – perhaps best demonstrated by the fact David Jones, Myer, Big W and Kmart have handed back a combined 600,000 square metres to landlords as they look to downsize – were always going to tell eventually.
And yet for all that, at least one prominent fund manager is prepared to go where many investors fear to tread.
Dion Hershan, managing director and head of Australian equities at Yarra Capital Management, has long been wary of the headwinds lashing retail landlords.
But what’s changed is the price of these stocks. “We’re completely and utterly aware of the operational risks in these businesses,” Hershan says. “What we’d call out is the higher quality shopping centre owners like Scentre will fare better.”
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