Noni B owner Mosaic Brands has reopened its Westfield stores outside of Victoria after a stoush with landlord Scentre Group saw 129 locations padlocked across the country.
Mosaic chairman Richard Facioni told investors on Monday the retail chain has inked a deal with Scentre, the terms of which were not disclosed.
“We’re pleased to have reopened our Westfield stores over the weekend following a mutually agreeable outcome to our negotiations with Scentre Group,” Facioni said in a statement.
Scentre forcibly shuttered 129 Mosaic-owned stores several weeks ago in a dispute about rent payments amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The disagreement quickly became an inflection point in ongoing disagreements between shopping centre owners and large retail chains over how physical stores should be valued in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
Facioni said Monday’s deal was a “good outcome”, particularly for the 400 team members working at stores closed by Westfield.
“We have had a long-standing relationship with Westfield enabling us to reach a solution that worked for both parties,” he said.
Mosaic, the owner of the Noni B, Millers, Rockmans, Rivers, Katies, Autograph, W Lane, Crossroads and Beme brands, last week said it anticipated closing 300-500 of its 1,333 stores over the next two years. Facioni confirmed this plan on Monday.
Mosaic and others, including Premier Investments’ Solomon Lew, argue there has been a fundamental shift in the retail rental market in Australia, requiring landlords to lower the price of their stores for tenants.
While Mosaic has now reached a deal of sorts with Scentre, there has been no such resolution for Lew, which has refused to meet several rental commitments with landlords throughout the pandemic, citing the need for a market adjustment.