This week in retail property news

Retail groups seek rental support

A number of retail organisations, including the National Retail Association, the Australian Hotels Association, the Franchise Council of Australia, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, the Newsagents Federation and the Australian Federation of Travel Agents, have decided to apply for rental relief on behalf of their current and future members.

The organisations have been authorised to do this thanks to a ruling by the ACCC in April, which allows tenants to collectively negotiate with landlords regarding rental support if they have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 lockdown.

The authorisation, which was effective immediately, allows tenants to discuss and share information for effective negotiation. Landlords will also be able to discuss and share information, Shopping Centre News has reported.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said that the decision recognised the urgent need for retailers and landlords to collectively negotiate mutually beneficial arrangements because of the precipitous fall in sales during April.

“Given restrictions are starting to be lifted, we suspect that April will be the worst period. But there’s a long way to go before retail starts to see light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

Ranfurlie project opens in Victoria

Despite the stage three restrictions against the pandemic which kept Victoria in strict lockdown, Ranfurlie Asset Management was allowed this month to open the extension of the Manor Lakes Central activity centre in Melbourne’s west.

The centre opened in line with all current safety and social distancing restrictions, ensuring the safety of staff, customers, retailers and the community at all times, Ranfurlie CEO Mark Wilson told Shopping Centre News.

Under the current social distancing restrictions, there was a delay in opening 12 stores, along with some additional areas such as children’s play areas, alfresco dining spaces, a community centre and a garden. Those 12 stores and the community areas will be opened in the near future, once current restrictions are lifted, he said.

The stage two redevelopment doubles the sub-regional centre’s size to approximately 20,000sqm of GLA. It cost more than $60 million and includes a Kmart, Best and Less, an Anytime Fitness gym, medical and dental practices, a large format fruit and vegetable store, along with other fresh food retailers and specialty stores.

The project has generated about 300 construction jobs and moving forward, more than 400 ongoing full- and part-time retail positions.

Ranfurlie Asset Management is the retail and commercial division of the Dennis Family Group, responsible for a portfolio of four shopping centres located in Victoria.

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