THE WHAT? Walgreens Boots Alliance’s UK-based drugstore chain, Boots, stands accused of taking advantage of the evictions ban designed to protect retailers struggling to pay rent following COVID-19 closures to secure more advantageous lease terms, according to a report published by the Financial Times.
THE DETAILS The well-known high street pharmacy’s stores remained open throughout lockdown, having been classed as an ‘essential retailer’ yet commercial real estate professionals told the Financial Times that Boots had been withholding rents and service charges and engaging in ‘aggressive lease renegotiations’.
THE WHY? Boots told the Financial Times that it was ‘continuing discussions’ with some of its larger commercial landlords and that although stores remained open, retail footfall was ‘significantly reduced’ and trading ‘severely impacted’.