intu has warned of an uncertain outlook after the coronavirus pandemic hit rent payments.

The shopping centre giants revealed that it only received 29 per cent of rent payments due on Wednesday - the payment deadline for the second quarter - and said it was still in discussions with customers over outstanding rents.

intu, which has one of its centres in Watford, says that reduced activity by shoppers has impacted footfall and potential future rents.

Only essential stores such as supermarkets, pharmacies and banks remain open across all of its centres in the UK.

In a statement, intu said: "We have significantly reduced capital expenditure for the foreseeable future and are cutting back on head office costs to maintain additional cash within the business.

"In addition, to support our customers, we have initiated a programme of reducing non-essential service charge costs and are passing on these savings to them."

intu says the prospect of rent reductions means it may need to waive its covenants on loans and the firm said it is currently in talks with lenders.

The retail property group said it is in an "ongoing dialogue" with the Government in hope to secure funds from its £330 billion business support package.

It comes after the Government announced on Monday that businesses would be able to avoid their quarterly rent payment for the next three months without forfeiting their leases.

intu said: "In their recent announcement for the protection of commercial tenants from the non-payment of rent, they also stated that they are actively monitoring the impact of this on commercial landlords’ cash flow.

"Other Government measures announced of business rates suspension, employee cost support and tax payment deferrals, are also expected to have a positive impact."

It added: "Given the ongoing uncertainty around Covid-19, we are no longer able to provide guidance in relation to the 2020 financial year."