Pressure mounts on retail landlords to ease rent rules for shopkeepers
Officials from the economic affairs ministry are putting pressure on retail investors and landlords to help shopkeepers cope with the loss of income stemming from the coronavirus shutdown, the Financieele Dagblad said on Friday.
Although a general shop closure is not part of the government’s measures to stem the spread of coronavirus, many stores have closed their doors because of the lack of customers.
Last week, organisations representing retailers and investors issued a statement calling on landlords and shop owners to find solutions to the crisis together, rather than by threatening legal action.
However, economic affairs minister Erik Wiebes and his deputy Mona Keijzer feel the statement was too open-ended and want to see something more concrete, the FD said.
Instead, they want to see landlords coming up with a nationwide agreement on either delaying rental payments or rent cuts. And, sources told the FD, if there is no deal, the government is not ruling out direct intervention.
Earlier this week the FD also reported that high street staple Hema had told staff and landlords they would have to make sacrifices after sales plummeted.
Perfume chain Ici Paris XL has also told its landlords that it will not be paying rent for the time being. Lingerie group Hunkemöller is paying rent on its shops 30 days in arrears. C&A, H&M and We Fashion have also reportedly made similar appeals.
Last weekend the government extended its emergency fund which it set up to help cafes and restaurants to include more high street stores.The ruling entitles companies to a one-off payment of €4,000 which they can use, for example, to pay the rent on their premises.
Meanwhile the construction sector’s economic institute EIB says it is concerned the economic fallout from coronavirus may be worse than the financial crisis of 2008.
While building sites are still being worked on where possible, projects are already being postponed, and total production may shrink by as much as 15%, the EIB said. Some 40,000 full-time jobs may be lost.
The impact on the construction sector is likely to be felt up to 2022, the EIB said, after which ‘growth will be very high’.
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