Covent Garden, one of London's most iconic shopping districts and historical sites drove JSE-listed Capital & Counties Properties (Capco)'s recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic in much of 2022. Tourists and Londoners have returned to the shopping and entertainment complex in droves. In fact, Capco's CEO Ian Hawksworth said the Covent Garden estate, valued at £1.8bn was resilient with strong leasing demand across all uses. It said in a trading update for the four months July, August, September and October, that 35 new lease agreements and renewals were signed, accounting for £3m of contracted income, 6.2% ahead of the June 30 estimated rental value (ERV). "Trading activity at Covent Garden remains resilient with strong leasing demand across all uses, and positive footfall and sales metrics. The volatile macroeconomic environment is having an impact on asset valuations, however we are encouraged to continue to see rental growth in our portfolio," said Hawksworth. Capco said there was strong leasing demand ahead with a further £2m of rent under offer or in negotiation. Since the beginning of the year, Capco has secured 60 leasing transactions representing £6.9m of contracted income, 10.4% ahead of the December 31 2021 ERV, the company said. The company is currently preparing to merge with Shaftesbury Capital PLC which owns numerous retail and mixed use assets. Capco owns a 25.2% shareholding in Shaftesbury. Hakwsworth said that although the UK and London's broader economic outlook was uncertain, Capco was well positioned with a strong balance sheet. "We are confident in the long-term resilience of and prospects for the West End," said Hawksworth. Covent Garden has also been attracting new retailers including jewelry brand Mejuri, eye wear company IZIPIZI and sportswear retailer Hoka.