Retail relief – SMEs and centre owners make progress on rental assistance
More than 6400 rental assistance agreements were reached between shopping centre owners and small and medium-sized retailers between 30 March and 31 May.
That’s according to survey results from the Shopping Centre Council of Australia (SCCA) and includes more than 1400 agreements that were finalised in the two weeks to 31 May. “The increasing volume of agreements illustrate that the Commercial Tenancy Code of Conduct announced by the Prime Minister on 7 April is working,” says SCCA executive director Angus Nardi.
“Pleasingly, nearly half (45 percent) of the small and medium enterprise (SME) retailers that have requested rental relief have reached an agreement,” he adds, “but there is more work to do.”
The SCCA urges SME retailers to review the Code of Conduct and come to the table with requests that are fair and proportionate to their circumstances. “While the vast majority of conversations have been productive, there are instances where agreements are taking longer to negotiate. This is often as a result of a lack of documentation to support claims for rental assistance. Nonetheless, shopping centre owners are committed to reviewing and appropriately responding to every rental assistance request to ensure SME retailers can thrive as more Australians return to the shops,” says Nardi.
Cafés, food catering and takeaway is the sector accounting for the largest proportion of offers, at 26 percent. This is followed by retail services (hair, beauty, nails, shoe repairs) at 21 percent and clothing and footwear at 14 percent. Many of these SME retailers were the hardest hit by government gathering and trading restrictions.
SCCA’s survey found that 80 percent of SMEs have requested rental assistance. SME retail stores in the surveyed centres make up 63 percent of total stores.