Boots Play Hardball With Landlords, But Throw In Some Cleanser And A Deoderant

Posted on Sep 29, 2020. by NTI

Whatever happened to Boots? It was always the dullest place your Mum would take you to when you shopped with her as a kid; smelling of a dental hygienist's tunic and selling nothing more interesting than rubber mats for the shower and exfoliant. 

It must be after the US heavyweight Walgreens bought the group, bringing all their New York state of mind over here and taking on our querulous British landlords. It is now facing accusations of using our world-famous moratorium on evictions during the pand ... blah, blah, blah as cover for aggressive lease renegotiations. There they are, in their tasseled loafers and gleaming teeth saying:

"Do you really think you are hard enough?"

“They are trying to take advantage of the moratorium just like everybody else,” blubbed one commercial real estate adviser, who added tearfully that the company’s large estate and comparatively long average unexpired lease term meant that its overall store occupancy costs were likely to be high. Boots kept bravely open during lockdown to serve the nation, as well as 183 different brands of shower gel to anyone who plumped for their '3 for 2 deal of the century'.

A silhouette of a man from the Bronx in a black-brimmed hat and Wayfarers said that the Walgreens-Boots Alliance was continuing discussions with some of their larger commercial landlords, looking at options for rental and service charge payments in light of changing circumstances ...adding: "... and if they ever want to see their kids again they know what to do." 

In the three months to the end of May, the company reported a 48 per cent year-on-year decline in same-store retail sales. Pharmacy sales fell 1 per cent, and the company said it was accelerating a restructuring plan that was likely to result in 4,000 redundancies. It currently only has 14 stores open on Waterloo Station, so we in the NTI newsroom sense we can feel the swish of a blade around that neck of the woods. 

With a sickly smile Boots added: “The rapid change in retailing . . . means that we must now put our relationship with our landlords on a more modern and equitable footing." Neil tells us that 'equity' means 'rights as founded on the laws of nature' and 'moral justice of which laws are the imperfect expression'. When asked about this, Boots growled:

"No, equity means we get what is ours and the laws of nature will do as they are told."

Alien against Predator? Boots against landlords? The latter is a movie where CGI means 'Chemists Get Involved'.


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