Hudson’s Bay Company has filed a lawsuit against Cherry Lane Mall, home to its Penticton location.
In the lawsuit, filed Nov. 13, Hudson’s Bay claims Cherry Lane is to blame for their loss of revenue during the coronavirus pandemic that rendered them unable to pay rent to the mall.
The same day, Cherry Lane Mall filed a lawsuit against Hudson’s Bay for not paying their rent since April. The lawsuit alleges Hudson’s Bay owes $546,255 in unpaid rent. Monthly rent for Hudson Bay’s space at the mall is $78,036. Cherry Lane has also served Hudson’s Bay with an eviction notice.
The iconic Canadian retail outlet has since refused to vacate the mall, filing a lawsuit of their own against Cherry Lane.
The lawsuit alleges that the mall refused to provide a safe environment during the pandemic.
According to the suit, Cherry Lane failed to upgrade the HVAC systems and improve overall airflow and quality, which would have better protected the public and employees from COVID-19 transmissions.
Cherry Lane allegedly refused to install touchless doors, upgrade the washrooms, improve pedestrian controls and up the amount of mall staff on duty to enforce shoppers’ compliance with COVID-19 protocols.
Hudson’s Bay also claims the mall did not take the necessary steps to ensure the public that the mall was safe and encourage them to return to the shopping centre, resulting in a drop in customers and revenue.
“The landlords have continued with its traditional marketing efforts as if nothing happened. This lack of marketing has contributed to the sustained lack of footfall since the reopening of the malls,” reads the lawsuit.
Further, the lawsuit argues Cherry Lane has taken no steps to provide “suitable premises” to shoppers, citing a lack of amenities resulting in Cherry Lane no longer providing an experience “typical of a first-class shopping centre.”
Hudson’s Bay attributes Cherry Lane’s actions, or lack thereof, to a drastic drop in revenue. The Penticton location’s 2020 sales dropped an average of 47.1 per cent month-to-month from March to October compared to the same months in 2019, according to the lawsuit.
In its own lawsuit, Cherry Lane claims that they have taken many initiatives to attract customers during the pandemic, stating that they have “undertaken significant marketing initiatives during the last several months directed at increasing footfall at the shopping centre.”
Hudson’s Bay is hoping the lawsuit will restrict Cherry Lane from terminating the lease, allowing the retail outlet to keep its location in the mall.
They are also hoping for a declaration from Cherry Lane that the mall has failed to meet the agreements of the lease. Hudson’s Bay is seeking to not be required to pay rent until the lease agreements have been met.
The claims made by both the Hudson’s Bay Company and Cherry Lane Shopping Centre have not been proven in court.