Boots slams landlords for “unpreparedness to support” retailer

Boots stores remained open during lockdowns
// Boots boss slams landlords for requesting rent payments during Covid-19
// All the rent due “has now been released”

Boots has reportedly criticised a number of landlords who requested rent payments from the retailer during the pandemic.

The company’s UK managing director Sebastian James expressed “disappointment” in a letter sent to some of its landlords, Property Week reported.

James stated that all the rent due “has now been released”.

READ MORE: Women MPs call for Boots to reduce price of morning after pill

“There have been a number of complaints from some of our landlords about our stance during the pandemic, but I am afraid I am unapologetic about the fact that it does not seem very fair to me that there should be absolutely no sharing of the pain with our landlords, a stance with which 80 per cent of those we spoke to agreed,” the letter wrote.

“I am sorry that you chose not to be one of them. Your unpreparedness to support Boots was therefore a real disappointment.

“It is easy to be friends in good times, but we will not soon forget those who supported us in more difficult times.

“As we seek to manage our portfolio in the coming years, and as leases come up for renewal, it will not surprise you to recognise that we would rather work with pragmatic landlords who see the longer-term value in our relationship, than with those whose only focus appears to be on maximising short-term gain, even in the face of an unprecedented national crisis.”

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  1. Hello Boots! How can it be that it is tolerable to not pay the rent? It is an operating cost of your trading, just as valid, and just as critical as paying for the stock you buy to put on the shelf. I suspect many Landlords would also seek to work with ‘pragmatic ‘ retailers who paid up if if they traded every day of the lockdowns when the time comes for lease break or renewal. I know of many stores where the rent went unpaid for months but Boots traded at full tilt – zero meeting of minds, so the issues you raise in such an imperious and peremptory letter are as much yours as the firms who own the buildings from which you operate.

  2. Boots owners are greeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedy !.

    You are an essential retailer that was open throughout the pandemic and raked it in.
    You are owned by Walgreens of US of A and make lots of monnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnney.

    Landlords cannot afford to give freebie rent and freebie business rates.

  3. Come on Boots !!, your approach is shocking !!. Landlords have staff, loans and mortgages to service and you guys want to trade for zero rent during lockdown !!.

    It’s a two way street, If retailers didn’t trade they shouldn’t pay full rent, if you did trade manage your costs appropriately and pay your rent !!.

    Also think about your brand values , your customers and the impact of your foolish short term decisions , landlords might not even want to rent to you in the future !!.

    Tired business model, dated shops and a real lack of any innovation and so many other retailers are chasing for a slice of your market and doing a better job !

    Did Sebastian James take a salary during lockdown ??!! Mmhhhhh

  4. …. What about the fact that Business rates where cancelled during the pandemic that saved them £millions and not forgetting the government grants to subsidies them during the said period.
    Very alarmed to read they put pressure on the landlords that own any property outside of normal negotiations on rental activity. Shame on you Boots.

  5. In contrast to a lot of these comments, I sympathise with Boots. They were forced to keep open their stores because of their pharmacies during the pandemic, many of which are only a small fraction of their large format stores which are often located on expensive prime high streets, shopping centres, etc. The limited footfall and pharmacy sales would not have compensated them for the huge shortfall in ‘normal times’ in terms of paying the rent. Landlords who simply shrugged their shoulders and were not prepared to share the impact of the pandemic, I suspect, are in the minority. However it is a small market and those landlords will have irreparably damaged landlord and tenant relations, and the future income streams, on which they rely.

  6. I agree with all the above comments except for Whistly Blowski, who simply doesn’t understand that being a landlord is a business. Have Boots ever offered one of their landlords a rent increase because business is great?


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