// Ryman to withhold rent until non-essential retailers are allowed to reopen
// Theo Paphitis’ company is embroiled in a row with landlords
// Theo Paphitis Retail Group also owns lingerie firm Boux Avenue and hardware retailer Robert Dyas
Ryman has reportedly threatened to withhold rent from landlords until non-essential retailers are allowed to reopen.
The stationery retailer, which is owned by Dragons’ Den businessman Theo Paphitis, is currently embroiled in a row with landlords over unpaid rent, The Telegraph reported.
Theo Paphitis Retail Group, which also owns lingerie firm Boux Avenue and hardware retailer Robert Dyas, wrote to some of Ryman’s landlords to tell them it would be withholding rent.
Non-essential retailers have been forced to remain shut since the third national lockdown began last month and have been told they could reopen on April 12 at the earliest under the government’s new roadmap.
Ryman has demanded that one landlord compensate itself for the loss of rent by claiming for it under its insurance policy.
However, lawyers for the landlord argued that the insurance policy was not in place to account for any rent lost in the event a tenant chooses to stop paying.
Paphitis restarted talks with landlords for Boux Avenue last June after being forced to put negotiations on hold.
Meanwhile, Ryman is also said to have been in talks with landlords over switching its lease arrangements to a turnover-based model.
Commercial tenants unable to pay their rent during lockdown are protected by a government ban that prevents landlords from taking debt enforcement action.