Hudson’s Bay has stopped paying its rent at malls across the country. Is it in trouble?

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Hudson’s Bay has stopped paying its rent at malls across the country. Is it in trouble?

By Fatima SyedSpecial to the Star

Sat., Nov. 21, 2020 8 min. read

Is Hudson’s Bay in trouble? There are certainly signs that it could be.

The 350-year-old retailer, whose parent company was taken private on March 3, just a week before COVID-19 hit Canada with its full force, has been hit hard by the pandemic lockdown, as have many retailers.

But unlike most other retailers, the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) seems to have adopted a policy of stiffing its landlords in malls and plazas across the country.

In fact, in the eight months since the pandemic shutdown, HBC hasn’t paid any rent at all to eight landlords in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Florida, according to legal filings. HBC has leases valued at $20 million a month across 21 locations in North America.

Industry onlookers see this as a sign the company may be in financial distress, spurred by the extraordinary struggles the pandemic has imposed on retailers of non-essential items, which depend on customers visiting their bricks-and-mortar stores.