Staples remains open but refuses to pay April rent
Retail landlords nationwide are up in arms over Staples' refusal to pay rent in April, even though most of its stores remain open.
According to a report from Axios, several landlords complained that Sycamore Partners, the owner of the office products chain, was taking advantage of the pandemic situation despite the fact that the private equity took a $1 billion dividend from Staples last year.
"They're taking advantage of a crisis — we're not allowed to do evictions right now and, even if we could, imagine the PR nightmare of kicking out an 'essential service,’” one landlord said.
Remarked another: "I also have an Office Depot in a different property… and they paid their April rent. Staples as an anchor tenant pays less per square foot than the smaller stores, which we're working with because their revenue went to zero, but apparently they don't care at all about those mom-and-pops.”
Sycamore last year paid itself a $1 billion dividend after taking out $3.2 billion in new debt, a move that reduces its financial flexibility in a crisis.