SA’s biggest clothing retailers and landlords don’t see eye to eye on paying rent under lockdown

Clothing and landlords are at odds over how much rent should be paid during lockdown.
SA’s biggest clothing retailers and landlords are no nearer to reaching an agreement on the amount of rent that should be paid during lockdown, with shopping centre owners on Friday rejecting a counter-proposal that had been put on the table.

Retailers and landlords have been locked in discussions for weeks now over rent.

The Property Industry Group (PI Group), representing commercial property association Sapoa, the SA Council of Shopping Centres and SA REIT Association, earlier this month put together a relief package proposal valued at between R2bn and R3bn over a two-month period. The package’s relief measures include rental reductions and deferred payments for tenants, but exclude those able to continue trading during the lockdown.

However, SA’s major clothing retailers, TFG, Truworths, Mr Price Group, Woolworths and Pepkor then countered with their own proposal, which they said was more balanced and dealt equitably with the permanent losses incurred by tenants. This included the payment of all utilities consumed by retailers during the period, and 20% of normal rental, operating costs, and recovery of assessment rates and taxes.

“Unfortunately their offer isn’t commercially feasible for our property owners, and the smaller the owner the less liquidity and more gearing they have. This makes it impossible for them to accept,” PI Group spokesperson Estienne De Klerk said on Friday.


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