Firm leading rent revolt plans customer offer

THE company leading a rent revolt plans to use the money it withholds from its landlord for a massive consumer giveaway next week.

Mobile phone retail giant, The Carphone Warehouse, is embroiled in a row with the owner of the Wilton Shopping Centre in Cork over proposed rent hikes.

It confirmed last night that it will, from next week, withhold the increase due and use the money to run two special offer deals at all its Cork stores next week.

From Monday, March 1 to Sunday March 7, it will offer €20 off all bill pay mobile phones, and €10 of all pre-paid mobile phones across the Vodafone, O2, Meteor and 3 networks, at its Wilton, Blackpool and Ballincollig shopping centre outlets, and at its St Patrick’s Street, Bandon and Midleton stores.

“Instead of giving rent to our greedy landlord we have decided to give it to our Cork customers by offering these incredible deals for one week only. We look forward to welcoming customers to our seven stores in Cork,” said Carphone Warehouse chief executive officer Stephen Mackeral.

His company is leading a revolt against upward-only rent reviews after controversy erupted last week about rent reviews at the Wilton Shopping Centre in Cork.

The centre’s owner, Joe O’Donovan, has through agents, DTZ Sherry Fitzgerald, written to four established traders seeking rent increases of between 40% and 60%.

Traders fear Mr O’Donovan has cherry-picked the four to use as a benchmark to revise upwards the rents of other tenants.

Mr Mackarel said the increase being sought for his outlet – estimated at just below 40% – was “this was the straw that broke the camel’s back”.

He branded landlords seeking such extraordinary rent increases as “greedy and ill-informed” and he has urged other retailers in the centre to back his campaign.

The Wilton Shopping Centre’s traders’ association has backed Mr Mackeral’s stance but has stopped short of advising its members to withhold rent amid fears of legal action.

Mr Mackarel was among a group which met Tánaiste Mary Coughlan yesterday to discuss the upward-only rent review issue. He has called for the swift introduction of legislation to tackle a practice he said is threatening thousands of retail jobs.


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