Wednesday 18 March 2020 2:42 pm

Coronavirus: B&Q owner Kingfisher to negotiate rent payment terms

B&Q owner Kingfisher is preparing to negotiate its rent payment system with landlords as it tries to save cash amid the coronavirus crisis.

Kingfisher, which also owns Screwfix Direct, will ask to pay rents across its 950 UK stores on a monthly basis, rather than each quarter, Sky News reported. 

Read more: Coronavirus: UK cases rise by over 600 to reach 2,626

Retailers are increasingly facing cash flow pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic as footfall has plummeted. 

Kingfisher, which has shuttered all of its shops across France and Spain, is aiming to come to an agreement with landlords before its quarterly rent is due next week, the broadcaster said. 

If the DIY retailer is given the go-ahead to pay monthly – rather than three months upfront each quarter – it will be able to keep the extra cash on its balance sheet during the coronavirus epidemic.

Kingfisher is not seeking rent cuts and has no plans to suspend payments.

A Kingfisher spokesman said: “We are looking to work constructively with our landlords to successfully navigate our way through these extraordinary times.”

The company was forced to shutter 221 of its Castorama and Brico Depot stores across France until at least 14 April. 

It has also closed 28 stores in Spain until 29 March after a two-week state of emergency over coronavirus was announced in the country. 

Read more: Coronavirus: Government to lift financial assistance rules for struggling airlines

Thierry Garnier, chief executive of Kingfisher said: “We are committed to supporting local authorities and governments to limit the spread of the virus, and the health and safety of our colleagues and customers remains our top priority.

Kingfisher said 25 per cent of its goods are sourced in Asia, and that more than 95 per cent of its suppliers’ factories in China have reopened with capacity starting to rebuild.

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