Landlord sales imbalance change: a Black Friday to remember

Apart from the relatively new retailing sales event, called Black Friday, the 23rd November 2018 has further significance, writes Phillip Chapman

It’s not for retail sales, but for retail sales reporting. For decades, the contractual requirement for Retailers to report their sales each month to the landlord has been the burning issue between lessees and shopping centre owners.

Why then was last Friday so significant?

The Retail Industry Code of Practice—The Reporting of Sales and Occupancy Costs was signed by industry stakeholders this day.

The object of the Code is to adopt practices to create more transparency around how landlords collect sales, what they do with the data and more importantly introduces a mutual obligation on landlords to provide meaningful data back to Retailers.

Since the Government recommendations handed down as a result of the Productivity Commission Review into the Market for Retail Leases in Australia in 2009, which emphasised the need for more transparency in the market, these issues have remained a personal agenda.

The Code provides the platform and forum for stakeholders to address the burning issue of the information imbalance created by the decades old practice of providing monthly sales on a silver platter to landlords.

Big thanks must go to our industry partners, the Australian Retailers Association and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, whose members will have a seat at the table to administer the Code and develop reform over the ensuing years.

The other stakeholders, being the Shopping Centre Council of Australia and National Retailers Association, are also owed a debt of gratitude in bringing this bipartisan Code to fruition.

What started out as a draft document I had prepared for a retailers’ meeting with Deputy Premier, Minister for Regional NSW, Minister for Skills, and Minister for Small Business Hon. John Barilaro at his consultation for the review of the Retail Shop Leases Act (NSW) to today’s adoption of the Code could not have happened without the Ministers’ tenacity and perseverance to deliver.

This is a Minister who understood the issues, said he got it and did something about it. And when the parties were polarised stepped in to ensure reform could be made possible.

Minister, on behalf of retailers not only in NSW but nationally, I thank you.

One of the first agenda items for the Code will be to modernise sales reporting categories, which were last refined in 2005 and are now fast becoming meaningless to a retail dynamic that is the Australian market.

Personally, a very proud day, but not a time to relax, as the hard yards of working with our industry partners to develop reforms and more importantly inform and educate members starts now.

Well, at least after a beer last Black Friday afternoon.

Phillip Chapman is the Director/Founder of Lease1 MiLease.

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