Hudson’s Bay has found itself in trouble as the retailer continues to close stores around the country. In October, the iconic department store faced lawsuits over $3.5 million in unpaid rent from the landlords of five locations in Quebec. Now, it’s been reported that 20 out of the 89 Hudson’s Bay locations in Canada have not been paying rent.
Unfortunately, over this past weekend, two Hudson’s Bay locations were shut down by landlords. A Hudson’s Bay location in Coquitlam, Vancouver had a note from the landlord Morguardon on its door explaining the closure over unpaid rent. There was also a temporary closure of a Toronto location at Centrepoint Mall over lease disputes with the same landlord. Shortly after, termination signs were removed and the Centrepoint location was operating to offer curbside pickup.
HBC has countered claims made against them by stating mall landlords should share the financial burdens caused by COVID-19.
A Hudson’s Bay spokesperson said, “HBC believes the courts will continue to provide a common-sense approach that is fair to landlords and retailers. The majority of Canada’s leading landlords share this view and have reached mutually acceptable agreements with us.” That provides a glimmer of hope that HBC won’t be forced to shutter all of its locations over lease disputes and they can recover from this ordeal.
Referring to the lockout in Vancouver, the spokesperson continued, “When Morguard tried to evict us, without regard for the impact on our employees, vendors and other retailers, we had no choice but to defend ourselves. We accept the Court’s Order and will continue to ask for a fair sharing of the burden of the pandemic with respect to this lease and each of our other leases across the country.”
Although nothing beats browsing Hudson’s Bay in-store, the company is doing everything it can to grow its online presence. Next year, HBC will launch a third-party marketplace to offer more products and drive traffic to its website.
Thebay.com is Canada’s fifth largest e-commerce business, with over 220 million website visits each year. That being said, a focus on online operations sounds like a great decision for Hudson’s Bay.
Many retailers have been affected by the pandemic this year, even leading to bankruptcies and store closures. Clearly, large department stores like Hudson’s Bay are no different.
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