The Real Deal New York

Retail landlords are using the courts to stop stores from closing — and they’re winning

Judges recently ruled that Teavana stores and a Whole Foods in Washington must stay open
December 12, 2017 11:30AM

From top: a Teavana store and Whole Foods Union Square

Retailers might want to think twice before closing a struggling store, as they could end up with a lawsuit on their hands.

As shopping centers continue to struggle, landlords have started pushing back against stores that shut down by filing and winning court cases to prevent them from doing so, especially in instances where their closing would cause the landlord to take a huge financial hit, according to Bisnow.

Whole Foods recently tried to shutter a store in Bellevue, Washington, for instance, but a judge has since ordered them to reopen. The grocery store was just two years into a 10-year lease requiring it to carry on uninterrupted business, and the landlord claimed to have been notified just minutes before the liquidation sale began.

A judge has also temporarily barred Starbucks from closing 77 of its Teavana stores in Simon Property Group malls after determining that Starbucks could handle a financial hit better than Simon. [Bisnow]Eddie Small