Small retailers complain of inferior treatment in malls.

Posted On Friday, 04 April 2003 02:00 Published by
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CAPE TOWN Small and medium-sized shopping centre tenants are lining up to file complaints with the Competition Commission, backed up by the SA Council of Retailers, about the treatment they receive compared with major retailers.

CAPE TOWN Small and medium-sized shopping centre tenants are lining up to file complaints with the Competition Commission, backed up by the SA Council of Retailers, about the treatment they receive compared with major retailers.

Platinum Holdings, which owns chains like Aca Joe, Hilton Weiner and Jenni Button, filed a complaint last week. Cape Town attorney Reid Corin said he had been inundated with complaints from other small tenants and would make submissions to the commission within two weeks.

Commission spokeswoman Karin Coode confirmed that a complaint had been received from Platinum Holdings .

Platinum Holdings chairman Marcel Joubert said yesterday that the complaint was against the owners of the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and the Tygervalley Shopping Centre.

First, small tenants could pay up to R500/m² while major retailers paid only R20/m² in the same centre. Some major retailers attracted shoppers, but others that were getting rental concessions did not.

Second, tenants were charged a percentage of turnover, or a base rental, whichever was greater, and the turnover percentage could be 8% to 12% for smaller tenants and as little as zero for big tenants.

The third issue was contribution to "fitout allowances". Smaller tenants are provided with a shell which they have to equip for trading at a cost of up to R300000, though they receive modest contributions to the cost of a sink and an electricity box.

Major tenants can receive a significant fitout allowance of up to R2000/m².

Joubert said the cornerstone of Platinum's complaint was that there was significant concentration in shopping mall ownership, with only six to 10 property owners in SA.

Their policy has been to set up malls on the periphery of central business districts, which had resulted in urban decay and made it vital for small traders to have a presence in the malls.

The SA Council of Shopping Centres could not be reached for comment late yesterday.


Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day

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