Ever since the mandatory store closures due to lockdowns all over the world, brands have been trying to negotiate high rents with their landlords and while some have been successful, others have seen tensions escalate quickly.
In what comes as a surprise to two Australian retailers, Westfield shopping centres locked the tenants out of their stores over rental disputes.
Scentre Group, owner of Westfield properties, recently shut 129 stores operating under women’s fashion chain Mosiac Brands and 38 Strandbags stores.
Mosiac was one of the retailers pushing hard for rent reductions as they faced negligible sales and footfall in stores.
Richard Facioni expressed his disappointment saying that a relationship that spans over 40 years was met with this fate, that too in such a volatile environment for retail.
The store closures impact over 400 jobs, but the brand is trying its best to employ the workers in the stores that are open in other locations.
He added, “Mosaic continues to conduct rental negotiations in good faith with all landlords, including Scentre Group, in the spirit of sharing the burden of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, consistent with Government recommendations.”
Similarly, luggage maker Strandbags’ Managing Director Felicia McGahan has confirmed the store closures and expressed both surprise and disappointment at the move, but remains hopeful that some consensus will be reached in this difficult time.