Store to close over rent hike
The Richmond branch of nationwide children's clothing retailer T&T is closing, with the company's managing director Darrin Johannink saying they can't afford a rent increase of "well over 50 per cent" on its Richmond Mall premises.
T&T has been in the premises for the last six years but announced this month that it will close the outlet on July 20. Although the company's lease expires at the end of this month, Mr Johannink said they would have liked to stay in the premises but the rent was too high.
"It's an exorbitant request for the rentals on our new lease. It's as simple as that – it just makes the whole thing unviable," he said.
Richmond Mall manager David Hill said T&T had declined to renew its lease after being approached by the mall. Rents were negotiated individually and were based on many factors so every lease was different.
"It depends on all sorts of things. What people's plans are, whether they're going to refit out their shop, whether they want to stay in the shop or whether they want to stay in that location."
Mr Hill wouldn't comment on T&T's individual lease agreement but was surprised to hear it considered that the rent increase was too high. However, fewer tenants were leaving the mall than the industry average and they had a number of new tenants interested in moving into the mall, he said. "I've had no discussions with Darrin along those lines at all. I'm very surprised Darrin didn't speak to the landlord himself, I don't understand where he's looking from."
Mr Johannink said T&T wanted to stay in Richmond but would be looking at properties in Nelson as well.
"We definitely want to stay down there, but with the rental that's being demanded of us now, it's absolutely ludicrous to stay." T&T has 40 stores nationwide with six in the South Island.
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