Australia's Mosaic Brands to close up to 500 stores

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Australia-based Mosaic Brands, the retail group behind clothing brands Rivers, Millers, Katies and Noni B, plans to shut up to 500 stores following the impact of bushfires and COVID-19 amid an ongoing dispute with a major landlord. Mosaic Brands said the leases on around 87 per cent of its 1,333 stores are expiring over the next two years and it anticipates closing 300-500 stores over that time period.

The threat to permanently shut more than a third of its store network comes after 129 of its stores in Westfield shopping centres were closed by landlord Scentre Group, leaving hundreds of workers needing to be redeployed, according to Australian media reports.

Some retailers and landlords have clashed during the pandemic over if chains should pay rent, and how much they should pay, after foot traffic tumbled during initial shutdowns, and some stores remain closed under renewed restrictions in Victoria.

The announcement came as Mosaic swung to a $170 million net loss for the 2019-20 financial year and said it would not pay a final dividend due to the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic.Australia-based Mosaic Brands, the retail group behind clothing brands Rivers, Millers, Katies and Noni B, plans to shut up to 500 stores following the impact of bushfires and COVID-19 amid an ongoing dispute with a major landlord. Mosaic Brands said the leases on around 87 per cent of its 1,333 stores are expiring over the next two years and it anticipates closing 300-500 stores over that time period.

The threat to permanently shut more than a third of its store network comes after 129 of its stores in Westfield shopping centres were closed by landlord Scentre Group, leaving hundreds of workers needing to be redeployed, according to Australian media reports.

Some retailers and landlords have clashed during the pandemic over if chains should pay rent, and how much they should pay, after foot traffic tumbled during initial shutdowns, and some stores remain closed under renewed restrictions in Victoria.

The announcement came as Mosaic swung to a $170 million net loss for the 2019-20 financial year and said it would not pay a final dividend due to the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic.