The future of Republic is in doubt as landlords remain divided on whether to accept new lease terms on its 114 stores.
Sports Direct, which acquired Republic in March, last month threatened to close Republic stores unless 75% of property owners agree to new terms by 5pm on Friday, as revealed by Retail-Week.com.
Sources close to the retailer said the decision on whether to close some or all stores depended on the outcome of landlord discussions. 2,000 jobs are on the line.
One property owner said the landlord community did not want to be “beaten around” by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, but could not predict whether three quarters of landlords would end up backing the proposals. “I have a feeling Republic aren’t sure either,” the landlord added.
Another large landlord which has multiple Republic stores in its schemes said they would look at the proposals on a “deal by deal” basis. The source added that they would not feel pressured to agree to terms on those stores they could easily re-let.
Another large developer also said they would look at the proposals on a “case by case” basis.
Sports Direct chief executive Dave Forsey outlined the terms in a letter sent to landlords last month. The proposals include Republic paying the higher of either half the current passing rent, or a sum equal to 15% of turnover for each store to cover rent, rates and service charge.
Forsey wrote that landlord compliance on terms - including a three-month break clause and monthly rents - was essential.
He wrote: “The new Republic format relies on the leading branded suppliers viewing it as a viable proposition. Therefore, circa 75% of all landlords across the Republic portfolio must agree to the above proposal, otherwise we will have no other option but to close the stores prior to the June quarter day.”
Sports Direct declined to comment.