As the holiday season approaches, many stores and businesses are gearing up for “Black Friday” and all of the ensuing shopping days before Christmas. For decades, most businesses were closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, but in recent years, that trend has been eroding.
More stores have been opening earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving Day, as they claim that is what consumers want. Of course, they encourage the lines outside the doors by offering extreme bargains, but that are often available in only very limited by numbers.
Some businesses have pushed back against this trend, claiming they do not want to disturb their employee’s holiday. But for some retail operations in malls could be in for an unpleasant surprise when they attempt to act on such an impulse.
One mall has warned tenants within that mall that if they fail to open during when the mall opens at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, they will be fined. For some smaller businesses, this fine could be substantial enough to force them to comply and staff the store.
The mall, as the landlord, can do this by the operation of their lease, which typically contains a clause that requires tenants to be open and continuously operate when the mall is open.
The purpose of these clauses is obvious. If a large number of stores were closed on some days, overall traffic to the mall would suffer as shoppers went elsewhere.
And your lease may contain some dates that are exceptions to the rule, but if Thanksgiving is not one of them, you could be compelled to operate your business, whether you want to or not. One tenant complained that he would have work the day, as he could not find anyone available to cover the shift.
It serves as another reminder that you should have an attorney explain each and every part of your lease and be certain you understand what it means before you sign. If you don’t, you could be signing up to have a cold turkey sandwich for your Thanksgiving Day dinner.
Money.com, “Mall Will Fine Stores if They Don’t Open on Thanksgiving” Brad Tuttle, November 11, 2014
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