Shoppers at Coquitlam Centre were surprised to find one of the mall’s flagship stores suddenly closed on Saturday.
Doors remained locked at the Hudson’s Bay Company Sunday, along with a notice reading “we are closed until further notice.”
A separate letter, posted by landlord Pensionfund Realty Limited, said the store’s lease had been terminated “for default in the payment of rent.”
It goes on to say the department store has 30 days to dispute the default.
In an emailed statement, Hudson’s Bay Company spokesperson Tiffany Bourré said the retailer was working with landlords across North America to “amicably and logically share the losses incurred during this ongoing pandemic.”
“We believe that there are fair solutions to be had as we recover from this public health crisis. In this instance, we are eager to reach a fair resolution, just as we have done with other landlord partners.”
Retail consultant David Ian Gray with Dig360 said The Bay is feeling the same squeeze that many retailers are, as the pandemic accelerates changes and challenges the sector was already feeling.
“They’re very stores-heavy,” he said.
“(A lot of people) think, ‘yeah, but we’re all shopping online now,’ but the truth is online sales are not making up for the losses in physical store sales, especially with the non-essential ones like the fashion-driven retailers.”
The company has been in a legal fight with several landlords across the country, after allegedly failing to pay rent for the past seven months.
In Penticton, the company is involved in a court battle with the Cherry Lane Shopping Centre.
The mall alleges the company owes more than half a million dollars in unpaid rent, and has served The Bay with a notice of termination and a demand to vacate the premises.
But in its own civil suit against the Penticton landlord, the company claims the mall failed to take significant upgrades to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the shopping centre.
With files from Jules KnoxView link »