Singapore retailers call for ‘unprecedented rental relief’

“Unprecedented rental relief measures” are needed from landlords to help retailers overcome the coronavirus crisis, according to the Singapore Retailers Association. 

In an open letter to landlords, the association has urged landlords to implement a rental payment structure for six months capped at no more than 15 per cent gross turnover or a 50-per-cent base rent reduction, whichever is lower. It also asks landlords to allow retail businesses who cannot sustain their businesses to exit before their lease expiration without losing security deposits or risking punitive legal action.

“We fully realise and appreciate that both mall operators and tenants have been working very hard over the past two months to minimise the business losses from the drastic drop in footfalls,” read the letter signed by Singapore Retailers Association president R Dhinakaran, on behalf of its 400 members. 

“However … with the government advice of safe distancing and stay at home (heading to malls for essentials like food only) … the sales of the majority of retail stores will be equivalent to zero sales, similar to a lockdown situation.”

The letter asks landlords to exercise the requested measures to avoid massive permanent store closures and loss of jobs within the next three months.

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