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Discount pharmacies seek rent relief despite virus boost

Larry SchlesingerReporter
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Australia's biggest pharmacy chains Chemist Warehouse and Priceline have stunned their landlords by proposing massive rent reductions despite being one of the few retail groups to trade strongly during the pandemic, in part due to panic-buying of medicines.

Veteran Ray White leasing agent Anthony Harris said landlords were keen to help genuinely affected retailers, but said groups like Priceline and Chemist Warehouse were "taking the piss out of the system".

Discounts on both sides: Customers visit a Chemist Warehouse in Maroubra on Monday. Louise Kennerley

Emails sent out by Chemist Warehouse Leasing Services on April 8 – a day after prime minister Scott Morrison unveiled the new code of conduct for commercial tenancies – proposed a halving of the rent payable for April, May and June with 25 per cent waived and 25 per cent deferred until after the pandemic.

The form letters, seen by The Australian Financial Review, further propose that rent be paid "on the last day of each month moving forward" rather than at the beginning of the month.

"The letter purports to invoke the spirit of the national code of conduct and to ask for a 50 per cent reduction in rent but without any providing any transparent information regarding the purported reduction in turnover," said the landlord of a Chemist Warehouse in Mornington.

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stunned their landlords by proposing massive rent reductions
2020/04/23 04:58