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Retail Landlords Win Court Cases Against Store Closures

Less than one week after a judge temporarily barred Starbucks from closing 77 of its Teavana stores, Whole Foods has been issued a similar edict.

Whole Foods Market, Whole Foods

The grocery retailer closed a Bellevue, Washington, store in the fall with little notice, citing underperformance and issues with the site as the primary reasons for shuttering the location. At the time, it was approximately two years into a 10-year lease agreement that required Whole Foods to carry on business "without interruption," CNBC reportsThe landlord alleges it was personally notified of the store closure mere minutes before Whole Foods began a final liquidation sale. A judge has since ordered that Whole Foods reopen its store in Bellevue Square.

In a growing trend, shopping center landlords are pushing back against retailers shuttering stores in their centers — particularly those retail outlets that would suffer a significant financial blow should certain tenants go dark. Starbucks has similarly been prevented from closing 77 stores in Simon Property Group malls after the landlord fought to block the coffee chain from shuttering its Teavana stores in the summer. 

It was determined that Starbucks would be better able to absorb the $15M financial hit than Simon could.