Income producing real estate group Big Shopping Centers (2004) Ltd. (TASE:BIG) is foregoing rent form tenants in malls that have been shut because of the coronavirus outbreak. Big group CEO Chai Galis wrote in a letter to tenants yesterday, "In the group's closed shopping malls in Beit Shemesh, Tiberias, Yarka, and Bat Yam, the tenants will be fully reimbursed for rent on the days during which the shopping malls were closed at the orders of the authorities."
In his letter, Galis added, "In open Big centers that are still active, we will examine how many people came to the malls, and where necessary we will credit tenants in accordance with the contractual percentage of proceeds that they pay. If malls are closed during the month, Big will reimburse for the days on which they are closed, and examine shopper numbers on the actual working days."
The letter concerns rent paid by retailers two weeks ago, after the authorities in Israel decided late last week to fully shut down shopping malls in an attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Following Big's letter, Fox-Weizel Ltd. (TASE: FOX) fashion chain controlling shareholder and CEO Harel Wizel told "Globes," "Serious and responsible companies are tested in a crisis. For the thousandth time, the Big group has demonstrated what partnership means, with the same concern for the success of its tenants as for its own success." Wizel remarks were his first made in the media in the past two years.
Wizel added, "I have no doubt that the other mall owners in Israel will follow Big's example by not charging rent and management fees for the days on which the government announced the closing down of properties, and will also adopt this approach in the circumstances. You obviously can't charge rent for activity in places that the government has ordered closed."
The Fox group, which has 8,500 employees, put most of them on unpaid leave early this week. Wizel also announced that starting at the beginning of the week, he would forego his salary.
Wizel commented, "I have no doubt that after this difficult period has passed, Israel will again be as strong as it was before the crisis, but all business owners will remember who was with them in the crisis, and how supportive he was."
Last week, Wizel notified mall owners that his company would unilaterally suspend rent payment from April 1.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 17, 2020
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