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Office and school supply retailer Staples won’t be paying rent on its U.S. stores this month as the coronavirus pandemic has led to a surge in the number of Americans working from home, Axios reported Wednesday.
Staples informed landlords this week of the decision, according to the report.
Company representatives declined to comment to FOX Business.
The chain didn’t propose any payment deferrals and didn’t promise to pay rent in May either, according to the report.
“They basically told me it was my problem,” an unidentified landlord told Axios. “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.’”
Staples has reduced its store hours in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s also offering free delivery and curbside pickup at most locations in order to promote social distancing plus free printing of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posters and free faxing of unemployment, insurance and medical documents.
Staples isn’t the only chain to skip on rent in April. Cheesecake Factory CEO David Overton told its landlords last month that the restaurant would not be making rent payments this month due to the “tremendous financial blow” from the coronavirus pandemic.
Millions of Americans’ livelihoods have also been affected by the virus, and close to a third of apartment tenants didn’t pay any of their April rent during the first week of the month, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council.
There were more than 404,000 COVID-19 cases in the U.S. as of Wednesday, and more than 13,000 people have died from the virus in the U.S.