News dalla rete ITA

26 Novembre 2020

Australia

LANDLORDS TAKE AIM AT RETAILERS WHO REFUSED TO PAY RENT

A leading landlord has taken aim at major retailers who refused to pay rent during the pandemic despite taking taxpayer funded subsidies and reporting higher profits.Michael Cook, group executive for property at one of Australia's largest commercial real estate companies, Investa, said these retailers had taken up landlords' time and prevented them from assisting smaller retailers who needed the most help."We had tenants who stopped paying rent – that's often a sign there's something wrong but there were some tenants ... seeking taxpayer relief and they were not paying rent but still announcing growth and profit increases," Mr Cook told the Turnaround Management Association (TMA) annual conference.Mr Cook did not name names but he was likely referring to retailers such as Solomon Lew's Premier Investments, which owns brands including Just Jeans, Smiggle and Peter Alexander, and footwear retailer Accent Group, which owns the Platypus, Hype DC, Pivot and The Trybe chains.Premier, which did not pay rent while stores in Australia and overseas were closed, received $60 million in JobKeeper subsidies and announced a $57 million final dividend after reporting a 29 per cent increase in net profit to a record $137.8 million.Accent also did not pay rent while stores were closed but accepted about $24 million in subsidies from the Australian and New Zealand governments and reported an 11.7 per cent increase in underlying earnings to $90 million.Mr Cook indicated that landlords would not quickly forget which retailers had done the right thing and those who had not.The change in relationships would be reflected in the mix of retailers in shopping centres and CBD areas. Investa, for example, has received more interest from international retailers, particularly luxury goods retailers, partly because the Australian retail sector has performed relatively well during the pandemic.Economist Andrew Charlton, a former adviser to Kevin Rudd and a co-founder of AlphaBeta Advisors, said household spending and business revenues had been boosted by $96 billion of government stimulus, which had plugged a $41 billion hole in cashflows caused by COVID-19.Dr Charlton told the conference insolvencies were currently running at half the level before the pandemic because of JobKeeper and other programs including early superannuation withdrawals, the deferral of tax liabilities, commercial tenancy relief, changes to bankruptcy and voluntary administration rules.However, Dr Charlton warned that household distress would rise and there was likely to be a significant increase in business failures in 2021 as government stimulus was unwound. There was also a large tailwind in the form of $115 billion in savings built up during the pandemic as Australian consumers stayed at home."If Australia is going to survive 2021 it will be about trying to match this headwind and tailwind and to calibrate the withdrawal of that government money such that it's timed well with the unwinding of savings driven by increasing consumer confidence," Dr Charlton said. (ICE SYDNEY)


Fonte notizia: AFR 24.11.2020