Landlord unsuccessful in trying to evict Hudson's Bay store in North York
TORONTO -- A Toronto landlord has unsuccessfully attempted to evict The Bay for not paying rent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shoppers came across signs reading The Bay’s lease was terminated and the store was closed at Centerpoint Mall, near Yonge Street and Steeles Avenue, on Sunday, a day before Peel Region and Toronto entered a lockdown, which shut down malls and indoor dining in the two COVID-19 hot spots.
“We are working with our landlord partners across North America to amicably and logically share the losses incurred during this ongoing pandemic,” Hudson’s Bay Company told CTV News Toronto in a statement.
"We believe that there are fair solutions to be had as we recover from this public health crisis.”
The Centerpoint Mall location is not the only one struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has not being paying its rent at other shopping centres across the country as well.
Most recently, a Quebec judge ordered Hudson's Bay Company to pay rent at several of its department stores in the province and a Hudson’s Bay department store in B.C. was reportedly shuttered for non-payment of rent.
An Ontario judge also ordered the company to pay half the rent owing at a Richmond Hill, Ont., store location in order to prevent eviction at that site.
“The Bay, I think, is playing hard ball with its landlords,” Bruce Winder, author of the recently published book RETAIL Before, During and After COVID-19, said.
Winder said he believes the Canadian retailer is trying to soften the blow of the pandemic.
“I won’t say The Bay is on the verge of going bankrupt and liquidating, but I think The Bay is using a certain hard-core technique, namely the courts, to force negotiations with landlords,” he said.
On Monday, The Bay won a court injunction against the Centerpoint landlord and the signs reading the lease had been terminated have been taken down. The department store says it remains open for curbside pickup.
“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,” the company said in another statement.
“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.”
It is a different approach to surviving the pandemic, Winder said.
“I don't think The Bay is wrong saying let's share the pain together, I just think the way they are doing it is a little unusual, a little draconian.”