Valentino Sues to End Fifth Avenue Lease Amid Pandemic Losses

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Luxury fashion retailer Valentino has joined a string of retailers suing their landlords to get out of pricey leases after shoppers vanished in the economic lockdown.

The U.S. branch of Valentino SpA filed suit Sunday in New York State Supreme Court to force 693 Fifth Owner LLC to let it out of its 15-year Manhattan lease nine years early. It cited losses due to the lockdown from the coronavirus outbreak. The landlord’s location is listed in the suit as in care of Savitt Partners LLC.

Valentino cited “the current social and economic climate, filled with Covid-19-related restrictions, social-distancing measures, a lack of consumer confidence, and a prevailing fear of patronizing, in person, ‘non-essential’ luxury retail boutiques.” It said the Fifth Avenue location, where it has been shut down since mid-March, was “no longer workable.”

Valentino Sues to End Fifth Avenue Lease Amid Pandemic Losses

Robert Cyruli, a lawyer for the landlord, declined to comment on the suit.

Valentino didn’t say what the rent was in the complaint. A voicemail left with its press office wasn’t immediately returned.

It isn’t the first big name to go to court against a Manhattan landlord amid the pandemic. L Brands Inc.’s Victoria’s Secret sued the owner of its $938,000-a-month Herald Square location in early June, saying the city’s retail industry had been “shattered” and “forever altered” since New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a stay-home order in March that closed all but essential businesses.

Valentino has been willing to pay the Fifth Avenue rent in the past because of high foot traffic at the store’s prime location, it said. Now it can’t, it said, and would be struggling long after the pandemic subsides.

New York City began the second phase of its reopening plan Monday morning, allowing consumers wearing masks to shop in stores.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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