Primark holding off rent payment

26 Mar 2020

Primark, which closed its UK stores as consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, is causing friction with its landlords after refusing to pay rent.

The fast fashion retailer had to pay £33 million to its landlords as rent and service charges, covering two thirds of the British stores for the coming three months.

In order to try to offset the financial hit that comes as a result of the UK lockdown, Primark owners, Associated British Foods are seeking a deal to withhold any payment. 

Due to Primark’s sales being restricted to physical shopping, the company is looking to survive the current economic problem that the coronavirus has created.

Similarly, Burger King is also choosing to not pay the latest rent bill for its 500 restaurants.

A Next spokesman said, “A very small number of staff at any one time are required to help with online orders. This will enable social distancing whilst these tasks are performed.” The clothes company offered a 20% bonus to staff who want to pick clothes and fill online orders from the closed shops. 

Only essential businesses are to remain open during the current UK lockdown.

A spokesman on behalf of Primark explained, “These are exceptionally difficult times and, like many retail businesses, we are looking closely at options to mitigate the significant impact of lost sales due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

“Given that all our stores are closed for the foreseeable future, we are asking our landlords to support us by agreeing terms that will help offset some of the impact.

“We hugely value our relationships with our landlords and we look forward to resuming our normal trading relationships as soon as possible when our stores reopen.”

Read the latest news update: Standstill for Britain’s retail sales in February, says ONS