While the Hudson’s Bay Co. store in Coquitlam Centre is closed, with a letter from mall management posted in the door indicating rent has not been paid, the company’s store in Kamloops remains open.
The iconic national retailer is facing financial hardship amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with lawsuits in Ontario and Quebec alleging months-long non-payment of rent in various malls.
At Aberdeen Mall, it appears as though it is business as usual for now.
When asked for the status of Hudson’s Bay Co. in the mall, marketing and speciality leasing manager Kristi Williams said she could not comment, noting business dealings — including lease payments — between businesses and mall ownership are not open for public discussion.
Like many retailers, Hudson's Bay Co. has struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has decreased foot traffic in traditional shopping centres and pushed people to do more of their shopping online.
Earlier this month, a judge ordered the company to pay half the rent it owes on its store in Hillcrest Mall in Richmond Hill, Ont., an amount worth $659,395, equivalent to 50 per cent of rent on the property that went unpaid for the months from April to October.
The owners of the mall attempted to evict Hudson's Bay from the mall, but the company filed an injunction to prevent that from happening. The interim ruling from Ontario Superior Court Justice Glenn Hainey prohibits the mall owner from ending HBC's lease, for now, with the final outcome of the case to be determined after a hearing on the merits of each side's claims.
In a statement responding to the interim ruling, Ian Putnam, president and chief executive officer of HBC Properties and Investment, said the court recognizes the need for a fair sharing of the burden of the pandemic.
In a statement, he said HBC is grateful the court "has recognized the extraordinary challenges of the global pandemic and how the burden can be shared fairly and lawfully, especially as it relates to non-essential retailers."
Putnam added that the majority of the company's landlords across Canada have "reached mutually acceptable agreements" with the company.
— with files from Canadian Press