A row has damaged out between Resort Chocolat, the upmarket chocolatier, and Nice Portland Estates, the London property firm, souring hopes of a ceasefire between retailers and landlords.
Resort Chocolat is locked in a stalemate with Nice Portland Estates over its Regent Avenue retailer, the place buying and selling is 60 per cent under final 12 months’s ranges as a result of vacationers and workplace staff have stayed at house. The chocolatier, based in 1993 and listed 4 years in the past, has reached compromises with most of its different landlords.
The dispute is the newest in a sequence between retail firms and their landlords throughout the pandemic, which has pressured retailer chains to demand lease reductions, waivers or a swap to rents linked with turnover to cushion them from the excessive avenue downturn. The worth of property firms has tumbled in tandem with the difficulty, with Shaftesbury, one other London landlord, final week tapping buyers for £300 million.
Resort Chocolat mentioned that it had misplaced £149,000 in gross sales on the Regent Avenue retailer, or greater than £20,000 a month, regardless of providing reductions. “It’s abundantly clear that we don’t meet the ‘in a position to pay’ standards for this property,” the corporate mentioned. It has requested its landlord for lease to be waived for the interval that its retailers have been closed throughout lockdown. Nice Portland Estates has supplied a lease vacation, however provided that the chocolate retailer pays a better invoice subsequent 12 months.
Peter Harris, 65, Resort Chocolat’s co-founder and government chairman, wrote in a letter to Steven Mew, 52, Nice Portland Property’s portfolio supervisor: “You dismissed the efforts of different landlords who’ve already helped us as being naive and never as refined of their monetary evaluation as GPE.”
The FTSE 250 property firm has highlighted that Resort Chocolat’s final replace to the Metropolis revealed a £15 million revenue within the first half, though the retailer has mentioned that it’s going to make a loss within the second half of the 12 months due to the cyclical nature of the enterprise when it has to preserve money for the run-up to Christmas.
A Nice Portland Estates spokesman mentioned that the property firm had been working intently with smaller unbiased retailers that had been unable to pay their lease and had supplied measures together with rental holidays, however the firm believed that Resort Chocolat was in a position to pay and that in step with authorities steering it ought to pay
“Regardless of the monetary well being of Resort Chocolat, and within the spirit of co-operation, we now have beforehand supplied to defer a few of the lease which they declined to just accept,” he mentioned.