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The Seattle Times reports that Starbucks is reaching out to many of its landlords and asking for a break on rents for the coming year as it continues to deal with the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic - stores that had to be closed for months and even n ow are operating only as take-out facilities.

In a letter to landlords sent by COO Roz Brewer, the company said, "“Effective June 1 and for at least a period of 12 consecutive months, Starbucks will require concessions to support modified operations and adjustments to lease terms and base rent structures."

The Times writes that "Starbucks demanded the rent relief one day after the company announced it would reopen 90% of its 8,900 company-owned U.S. stores by early June. In a May 4 post on Starbucks’ website, President and CEO Kevin Johnson wrote that Starbucks 'will not just survive, but with adaptations and new routines, it will thrive.'

"The letter to landlords struck a more dire tone, asking them to 'adapt to new realities'   -  including an anticipated $225 billion hit to the American restaurant industry over the next three months.

"The company called the closure of many businesses to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus 'a staggering economic crisis,' adding that 'the psychological and economic scars will last for months, if not years'."

Starbucks reportedly stayed current on all its rents during March and April, even as stores were shuttered.

KC's View:

The story gives the sense that Starbucks is finding a level of understanding as it looks for concessions.  Landlords and their banks realize that having a Starbucks is a long-term investment in the value of a property, and that losing a Starbucks - especially in a time when there may not be folks lining up to take over the space - would not be prudent.