Hudson’s Bay not making the most of its real estate portfolio – investors

Beleaguered retailer Hudson’s Bay is still not taking advantage of the red-hot Toronto real estate market to turn around its fortunes, which has led to bafflement and even irritation among investors.

Shareholders have noted that this reticence is unusual, given that Hudson’s Bay is already angling to sell its prime location in Vancouver, following the $850-million sale of Lord & Taylor’s flagship store in Manhattan last year.

The retailer’s handling of its real estate has been previously condemned by activist investor Land & Buildings Investment Management LLC.

Individual investor Heino Ader, who has held the stock for about 2 years now, suggested the department store chain look into mixed-use property and build condominiums on top of stores, “a cash cow just waiting there for you.”

“Are you waiting for us to go into a recession before you sell some of your real estate, or do something with it?” Ader asked during an annual meeting in Toronto earlier this week, as quoted by Bloomberg. “Real estate will not stay hot forever.”

Chairman Richard Baker has assured that the retailer is strengthening partnerships in some cities. Baker himself has been criticized by some investors, including the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, for his nearly $55 million pay package, which includes performance-based awards.

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