A potential battle between retailers and their landlord is brewing at one of Queensland’s largest shopping centres, with business owners claiming their sales have been devastated as a result of the introduction of paid parking and a number of store closures.
Leaseholders at the Indooroopilly Shopping Centre in Brisbane say the shopping complex has been turned into a “ghost town” following the closure of retailers such as Dick Smith, Koko Black and homewares business Earthborn.
Indooroopilly is the 19th most popular shopping centre in Australia, according to Roy Morgan Research, with more than 200,000 people walking through its doors in a four-week period at the end of 2015.
However, retailers are up in arms following the introduction of paid parking which they say is deterring customers.
“People aren’t shopping anywhere like they used to, everyone’s figures are down,” one retailer told The Courier Mail.
“The parking dramas caused people to stay away because it was too much hassle and it’s never recovered from that. Midweek, it’s a ghost town.”
Retailers have been told by the centre’s management not to speak to the media because it will generate “negative sentiment”, amid reports of the closed-door meetings between the parties.
However, a spokesperson for the Indooroopilly Shopping Centre told News.com.au it is working cooperatively with all retailers in order to understand their concerns.
“Indooroopilly Shopping Centre is working cooperatively with all retailers to understand their concerns and we will be proactively addressing them,” the spokesperson said.
“The ticketless parking system implemented last year has eased congestion and has stopped commuters parking in the centre car park to access offsite facilities.”
What should retailers do if they are furious with their landlord?
Amanda Anderson, director of The Tenant Company, told SmartCompany it is important landlords listen to their tenants’ concerns.
“They definitely need to address concerns early on, because all those tenants hold leases and there’s often someone down the road who’s willing to take them on at the end of their lease if the landlord isn’t willing to agree to more favourable conditions,” Anderson says.
Anderson says the most important thing retailers need to do if they find themselves in a dispute with a landlord is to know their rights, as well as their landlord’s responsibilities.
“That’s where a lot of tenants can falter,” she says.
“They often put up with stuff for years when they shouldn’t have to.
“It’s important to speak to somebody who can understand the legislation and give you advice on what your rights are and how to go about it.”