JoJo Maman Bébé founder Laura Tenison appeared on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme yesterday (Wednesday 25 March) appealing for short-term rent holidays for retailers during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The news special came a hundreds of high street service and retail businesses in the UK are expected to withhold quarterly rent payments so they can afford to pay staff.
“Before Rishi Sunak’s announcement on rents last Friday, I was spending all of my time contacting landlords personally, to get their permission to work on a payment plan for these rents,” Laura told the BBC’s Today programme.
“More than anything, we needed a short-term rent holiday,” she continued. “It’s cashflow that retail companies need right now, so delaying the rent is not really going to help us in the long run. We have to write off an entire season.”
“We have to start paying deposits for next season’s stock which will be put on container ships in the next four to eight weeks. If we don’t think forward to the autumn, we won’t have a business to run. It’s absolutely a cash injection that companies need now, and the easiest way to do that is to not pay the rent.”
The government has stated that currently, shops will not forfeit leases if they do not pay their rents, but they will have to pay arrears in the future.