The Globe and Mail reports in its Saturday edition that a retail reckoning has begun. The Globe's Susan Krashinsky writes that after weeks of lockdowns, the retail industry is in the most difficult position it has seen in decades. Commercial property owners have recognized the risk of retail vacancies. Brookfield Asset Management is planning to provide up to $5-billion (U.S.) in capital to prop up some of its struggling retailers. Five of Canada's largest commercial landlords recently joined forces with a group of chain retailers including Hudson's Bay, Indigo Books and Cineplex, to ask the federal government for more assistance for retailers. Rent-relief options announced by Ottawa so far are mostly targeted at small businesses, but retailers are struggling across the board.
Before the crisis hit, retailer La Maison Simons was about a new distribution centre in Quebec City, with major investments in automation to better serve its stores and e-commerce business. That work has stopped. A deal to sell the old facility fell apart. "It probably couldn't have happened at a worse time," chief executive officer Peter Simons said. "The productivity is dormant, but the debt and the operational expenses aren't dormant."
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