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Bewley's lose E1.5m landmark rent case

Tuesday, July 01 12:15:27

In a landmark decision today, the Supreme Court has overturned a High Court ruling that the rent payable by Bewley's on Grafton Street must be allowed to fall to reflect market levels.

Bewley's on Grafton Street pays nearly E1.5m rent to its landlord, the Johnny Ronan controlled Ickendel Limited, and had won a High Court case, which ruled that this must be allowed to fall to market reflective rates under the provisions of its lease.

Bewley's said it is "immensely disappointed" at this outcome.

The company said that it will now consider the judgment with its legal advisers.

Bewley's Group Chief Executive, John Cahill said: "The landlord has managed to achieve an oppressive rent of E1.5 million which was set in 2007 at the height of the unsustainable property bubble, and which is double the market rent set at 1 January 2012. All we have sought to achieve is an acknowledgement of economic reality and fair treatment with a rent that reflects market values, but this has been blocked by NAMA and the landlord."

Retail Excellence Ireland said that it believe that today's Supreme Court decision to enforce the nearly E1.5 million commercial rent at Bewley's Grafton Street, "is bad for jobs and investment in the domestic economy".

Commenting on the decision David Fitzsimons Chief Executive, Retail Excellence Ireland said "This decision will simply undermine a potential return to stability in the domestic economy and will lead to the loss of vulnerable jobs in the Irish retail industry. The decision of the Supreme Court to apply the terms of this onerous lease proves how out of kilter legacy commercial leases are with a turbulent domestic economy. Between 2000 and 2007, commercial rents increased by 240pc while at the same time consumer prices increased by 30pc, proving that the commercial property market is rigged in favour of the landlord."