Sunday 4 December 2016

Carlow Shopping Centre owners seeking injunction preventing Supervalu from closing

Published 11/01/2016 | 15:59

The owners of the Carlow Shopping Centre are seeking an injunction preventing the outlet's anchor tenant, Supervalu, from closing its doors on January 22 next.

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The owners say the Musgrave Group, which operates the 34,000 square foot supermarket, is obliged under the terms of the original anchor tenant contract to keep the premises open.

Thomas Thompson Holdings Ltd, which owns the centre, and Montaya Developments Ltd, the landlord of the premises, along with the management company, Carlow Centre Management Ltd, are seeking a number of Commercial Court orders including that Musgraves specifically perform the terms of the original 1993 anchor tenancy lease to keep the shop open.

Mr Justice Brian McGovern admitted the case to the Commercial Court list on consent between the parties and fixed a date later this month for the hearing of an urgent injunction application seeking to prevent closure on January 22.

The 60,000 sq ft Kennedy Avenue centre houses 22 other retail outlets and a three-screen cinema.

The original anchor tenant was Superquinn which in 2005 was sold the Select Retail Holdings.   In 2011, receivers were appointed to Select Retail by two banks and the business was later sold to Musgrave Group plc.   The supermarket is owned and operated by Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland Ltd and Musgrave Operating Partners Ireland.

Gwynne Thomas, a director of Thomas Thompson Holdings, says in an affidavit the original lease contained a "keep open" obligation on the anchor tenant and which has continued to this day.

There was significant competition to become anchor tenant in 1993 which is an important position in that it creates footfall which benefits the other 23 tenants in the centre.

Mr Thomas says that on December 2 last, without any prior notice, Musgraves announced their intention to close Supervalu.  

In the absence of any "meaningful communication" from Musgraves, legal proceedings were initiated seeking an injunction preventing closure.

Mr Thomas believes there would be significant and widespread economic damage if Supervalu is allowed close in the manner proposed or at all.

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