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Solomon Lew called to court over $3.5m in unpaid rent

Solomon Lew and Mark McInnes
Premier Investments’ chairman Solomon Lew and executive director Mark McInnes. Image: Supplied.

Retail leader Solomon Lew is being taken to court over $3.5 million of unpaid rent, according to a report in The Australian.

Fortius Funds Management launched action against Premier Investments’ Just Group, according to documents filed with the NSW Supreme Court, where it claims Just Jeans, Peter Alexander, Portmans and Smiggle failed to pay their respective rents at Fortius’ Mid City Pitt Street Mall centre.

And, in its own court filings, Premier Investments hit back at Fortius, stating it refused to negotiate in good faith with Just Jeans Group.

“Forticus has rejected reasonable and proportionate proposals advanced by Just Jeans Group and the tenants for reductions in rent based on the reduction in each tenant’s trade during the Covid-19 pandemic period and subsequent reasonable recovery period,” Premier said.

According to the report, Just Jeans paid just over $11,000 in rent when its lease demanded almost $100,000 during last July, after it said it would pay 8 per cent of monthly sales. During Christmas, when sales boomed, Just Jeans almost paid $300,000 in December.

Premier Investments was among the key retailers that, during the initial stages of the pandemic when retail was shuttered and customer movement was frozen, refused to pay rent.

The move frustrated landlords and, in August last year, caused Westfield-operator Scentre Group to shut about 150 stores nationwide – targeting Strandbags and Mosaic Brands’ roster of brands.

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