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Retail lobby: Army & Navy closure indicates broader pressure felt across retail sector

Last Updated May 10, 2020 at 9:54 am PST

FILE - In this April 2, 2020 file photo, "For Sale By Owner" and "Closed Due to Virus" signs are displayed in the window of a store in Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich. Business filings under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy law rose sharply in March, and attorneys who work with struggling companies are seeing signs that more owners are contemplating the possibility of bankruptcy. Government aid my simply be too little too late. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Army & Navy isn’t likely to be the last retail store to permanently shut their doors, according to the Director of the Retail Council of Canada.

Greg Wilson says it’s possible that 20 to 30 per cent of retailers in B.C. won’t survive the pandemic shutdowns.

The federal government announced toward the end of April, a 75 per cent subsidy for commercial renters, which Wilson contends though doesn’t provide enough coverage under the current rules.

“Firstly, it was dependent on landlords, applying for the program, and some landlords just didn’t apply,” he tells NEWS 1130. “Secondly, it was dependent on whether you had a mortgage; some people don’t have mortgages.”

He says Ottawa should be moving to retool its rental subsidy program for commercial tenants.

“They did say at the beginning that they might have to tweak their program I hope they tweak it before too many more small retail businesses collapse or don’t reopen,” he says.

RELATED ARTICLE: Army & Navy permanently closing because of COVID-19

On Saturday, Army & Navy owner confirmed that its locations throughout Metro Vancouver would close permanently as a result of COVID-19.

Just last year, the company celebrated its 100th anniversary which opened in 1919

“The economic impact of this global pandemic is beyond anything we have experienced. I am proud of Army & Navy’s history and our contribution to the Canadian landscape,” owner Jacqui Cohen said in a statement.