Hudson's Bay store in Coquitlam has defaulted on rent, landlord takes possession
Inside the mall on Saturday, shoppers could be seen peering through the windows of the shuttered store, which appeared to be still full of merchandise. (CTV)
VANCOUVER -- A Hudson's Bay store in Coquitlam is closed, and a letter posted on its front door indicates that the closure is due to lack of payment of rent.
The letter on the door of the department store inside Coquitlam Centre mall indicates that the landlord, Pensionfund Realty Limited, has terminated the store's lease "for default in the payment of rent."
"Particulars of the default have been provided to you with our notice of default dated Oct. 7," the letter reads.
It goes on to indicate that Hudson's Bay has not disputed the default but also has not taken "remedial steps" to address it.
"Accordingly, as the default in question constitutes a major default under the lease, the landlord has re-entered and taken possession of the premises to lawfully enforce its rights," the letter reads.
CTV News Vancouver reached out to Hudson's Bay for comment on the closure. In an emailed statement, spokesperson Tiffany Bourré indicated that the company still hopes to resolve the dispute.
"We are working with our landlord partners across North America to amicably and logically share the losses incurred during this ongoing pandemic," Bourré said in the statement. "We believe that there are fair solutions to be had as we recover from this public health crisis. In this instance, we are eager to reach a fair resolution, just as we have done with other landlord partners."
Inside the mall on Saturday, shoppers could be seen peering through the windows of the shuttered store, which appeared to be still full of merchandise. The letter is dated with Saturday's date.
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 The Canadian Press