A Quebec judge has ordered Hudson’s Bay Co. to pay rent at several of its department stores in the province, saying the retailer cannot take the law into its own hands.
In separate rulings issued Friday, Justice Katheryne Desfosses granted safeguard order applications made by shopping mall landlords Cominar Real Estate Investment Trust, Oxford Properties Group and Dorval Property Corporation.
The Quebec Superior Court judge ordered HBC to pay the full outstanding rent at multiple locations starting from when the applications were filed and extending for a six-month period — the maximum time the emergency order can apply — or until a judgement on a the merits of each case is rendered.
The decisions were handed down on the same day an HBC department store in B.C. was reportedly shuttered for non-payment of rent, and two weeks after an Ontario judge ordered HBC to pay half the rent owing at a Richmond Hill, Ont., store to stave off eviction.
Daniel O’Donnell, a spokesman for Oxford, says the real estate company welcomes the court’s decision, and is now calling on the retailer and its “New York-based private-equity owners” to honour its obligations and pay rent across Canada.
Ian Putnam, president and CEO of HBC Properties and Investments, says the company is continuing to seek a “fair and mutually-beneficial compromise” during the pandemic.