// The Entertainer receives letter from Westfield threatening legal action over unpaid rent
// The threat was withdrawn on the first day of England’s lockdown last week
Westfield has reportedly threatened The Entertainer with legal action over unpaid rent arrears just as England enters a second lockdown.
A letter sent to The Entertainer, seen by the Financial Times, suggested that if its outstanding rent payment was not received within a week, Westfield would consider enforcement action.
The Entertainer executive chairman Gary Grant told Retail Week and Financial Times Westfield’s legal threat was withdrawn on Thursday – the first day of England’s month-long lockdown and the same day he reportedly received the letter.
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Grant said the withdrawal came after he contacted his local MP about the dispute, and accused Westfield of ignoring his attempts to engage with them over the course of the pandemic.
The Entertainer operates 173 stores around the UK, two of which are located within Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City.
The toy retailer usually makes 50 per cent of its annual revenue in the golden quarter – the peak trading period leading up to Christmas – and around half of that revenue surge is recorded in the four weeks leading up to Christmas Eve.
With the majority of its stores now in lockdown across England until early December, it is not certain if The Entertainer could rake in its usual golden quarter revenue.
“It’s unprecedented, it’s not a reasonable action for a landlord to take at a time of year like this, especially on day one of the lockdown,” Grant told the Financial Times.
Hugo Boss has also reportedly been told to pay their rent arrears or face enforcement action from Westfield, as has food retailer Pret-a-Manger.
In September, reports emerged that Boots was also facing a similar legal threat over unpaid rents during the first and UK-wide lockdown.
Scott Parsons, regional managing director of Unibail-Radamco-Westfield, said: “Our firm strategy is to work in partnership with our retailers.
“Only in situations where a retailer has refused to collaborate in pursuit of an agreement that could work for both parties would we consider legal action.”