News dalla rete ITA

5 Gennaio 2021

Australia

RETAIL RENT WARS TO RESUME AS ONLINE SALES SOAR

Retailers calling for leases that better reflect modern shopping habits are facing growing pressure from landlords to hand over a proportion of their online sales in rent. Retailers such as Solomon Lew's Premier Investments and footwear seller Accent Group, which between them operate more than 1600 stores, have called for rents to be restructured and based on a percentage of sales rather than shopping centre foot traffic or fixed rents with annual increments for inflation. Their argument is twofold – retailers' bricks and mortar presence help drive online shoppers to their e-commerce sites, and a growing portion of online sales are fulfilled or collected from stores or returned to stores. Many retailers such as Accent Group, Myer, David Jones and Super Retail Group even have in-store kiosks where customers can order goods online when they cannot find the right size or shade in stores. But retailers are reluctant to share their online spoils, saying most online orders are fulfilled from warehouses and online sales are less profitable than bricks and mortar sales. Landlords' push for a share of digital sales came to light at the height of the pandemic, when online sales peaked at 20 per cent of retail spending and reached 75 per cent of sales at retailers such as Accent Group. But it had been bubbling away under the surface since the very early days of e-commerce. Vicinity Centres chief executive Grant Kelley hit the headlines when he told The Australian Financial Review Retail Summit in June that rental agreements should include a base rent plus a variable component based on a proportion of a tenant's online sales. His argument was rejected by Australian Retailers Association chief executive Paul Zahra and Rob Scott, chief executive of Wesfarmers, which owns Bunnings, Target, Kmart, Officeworks and online retailer Catch. "What we've seen is that in any new leases an [online sales] clause is being presented to most retailers," Mr Zahra told The Australian Financial Review. "A lot has been thrown at retailers and this year [2020] has been a particularly unusual year because of the pandemic and most retailers have had to rethink their whole business model as a result of this quantum shift in digital trading. "So, it's a rich claim from landlords to be claiming those sales when they haven't been made from a physical store. Mr Zahra said larger retailers had the property and legal resources to fight landlords' claims for a share of digital sales, but the ARA was worried about small and medium-sized retailers that lacked the power and resources to resist. But the debate is raging not only in Australia. For example, British property giant Hammerson announced plans in August to allow tenants to move to more flexible, turnover-based leases if they paid an “omnichannel top-up element" based on store performance and omnichannel metrics, including the click-and-collect performance of a store or footfall from showrooming. Macquarie Bank analysts estimate that online retail penetration will reach 20 per cent by 2025 – reducing demand for bricks and mortar retail space – while retailers such as Accent Group and Kogan.com predict that 22 to 30 per cent of all retail spending will have shifted online, in line with trends in Britain, the US and China. (ICE SYDNEY)


Fonte notizia: The Australian Financial Review 05.01.2021