Retailers in the UK have paid less than 15% of the quarterly rent due to landlords this week, as they take advantage of the eviction ban in place until September (The Financial Times £). Retailers left landlords short of around £2bn in rent this quarterly payments round, transferring the high street crisis into the property sector (The Guardian). Meanwhile, commercial landlords were paid just 18.2% of the rents due, among concerns that some businesses who could afford to pay are using the coronavirus crisis as an excuse not to (The Telegraph). 

Meanwhile Pret a Manger has told its landlord it is in the “eye of the storm” as sales dropped over 80% during lockdown. The sandwich chain said it will only pay 30% of its next rent bill after facing losses of “tens of millions of pounds” each month because of the pandemic (The Financial Times £). The chain warned it did not ha sufficient funds to pay its rent bill in full after losing out on revenue since its loyal office workers remain home (The Times).

Shopping centre owner Intu is facing collapse after failing to reach a deal with its lenders over a staggering £4.5bn pile of debt. The move could see some UK shopping centres shut their doors, as the company has run out of money to operate them (The Telegraph). Intu is expected to enter administration after it was unable to persuade its lenders to grant a debt repayment holiday before Friday night’s deadline (The Guardian, BBC). Intu’s collapse ”would arguably be the most significant corporate casualty of the coronavirus pandemic so far”, writes Sky News, as it directly employs nearly 3,000 people, but a further 102,000 people work in its 17 UK shopping centres and 30,000 in the broader supply chain (Sky News).

FMCG giant Unilever has dropped the word ‘fair’ from its ‘fair and lovely’ skin lightening following backlash associated with the black lives matter movement. The product to lighten the skin is sold in South Asia and, despite changing name and packaging, will continue to be on the market (The Telegraph).

Pets at Home shares have benefited during the pandemic from a rise in searches for kittens and dogs for sale, as one of the key constraints to own a pet - being outside of the house during work hours - was removed by the lockdown. With many anticipating that the permanent shift to WFH has been accelerated by the pandemic, rising animal ownership would benefit the chain analysts have concluded (The Times).