Co-operative Insurance Society Ltd v Argyll Stores Ltd  AC 1 House of Lords
Lord Hoffmann: My Lords… In this case… The appellant defendants, Argyll Stores (Holdings) Ltd (‘Argyll’), decided in May 1995 to close their Safeway supermarket in the Hillsborough Shopping Centre in Sheffield because it was losing money. This was a breach of a covenant in their lease, which contained in clause 4(19) a positive obligation to keep the premises open for retail trade during the usual hours of business. Argyll admitted the breach and, in an action by the landlord, Co-operative Insurance Society Ltd (‘CIS’) consented to an order for damages to be assessed. But the Court of Appeal  Ch 286, reversing the trial judge, ordered that the covenant be specifically performed. It made a final injunction ordering Argyll to trade on the premises during the remainder of the term (which will expire on 3 August 2014) or until an earlier subletting or assignment. The Court of Appeal suspended its order for three months to allow time for Argyll to complete an assignment which by that time had been agreed. After a short agreed extension, the lease was assigned with the landlord’s consent. In fact, therefore, the injunction never took effect. The appeal to your Lordships is substantially about costs. But the issue remains of great importance to landlords and tenants under other commercial leases.