Sunday 19 November 2017

High rents threaten Grafton Street shops

John Corcoran
pictured outside his
Korky's shop on
Grafton Street
yesterday. The
shopping street is
now littered with for
sale, to let, and
closing down sale
signs
John Corcoran pictured outside his Korky's shop on Grafton Street yesterday. The shopping street is now littered with for sale, to let, and closing down sale signs

Grainne Cunningham

EXORBITANT rent contracts are forcing retailers on the country's premier shopping street out of business, with more jobs and livelihoods in jeopardy unless action is taken.

Shopowners from the Grafton Street Tenants Association (GTSA) yesterday appealed to Government to help them escape rent agreements which can only go up, on the day a new law banned such terms from all future leases.

For many well-known outlets on Grafton Street, the new law provides little comfort, as owners are locked into six-figure annual rent agreements called Upward Only Rent Reviews while their turnover continues to fall.

The fall-out from the unsustainably high rents paid by retailers is already writ large on the busy pedestrianised street -- many long established outlets have closed down while others are up for sale.

The street is already a tangle of To Let and For Sale signs and in many of the shop windows, the battle to lure in reluctant consumers is evidenced by 70pc off signs and other reductions.

Spokesman for the GTSA John Corcoran said there are more stories to be told, with stores like Wallis and Ernest Young, the jewellers, looking for a buyer.

Tie Rack is gone and so has Warehouse to be replaced by a bargain book store. The O'Brien's sandwich shop could not meet the rent demand of €220,000 a year.

Pia Bang, Monica John, Pixels are also among the casualties in the city's busiest shopping area.

Mr Corcoran, who has run Korky's shoe shop for the past 15 years, has another 10 years to run on his lease and is struggling to survive.

The GTSA has called on the Government to take further action against this 'anti-competitive, anti-tenant clause' in leases.

It wants a legal mechanism put in place that will oblige the landlord to accept a market rent in all existing leases.

Irish Independent

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