August retail rent payments close to 2019 levels

Despite the delta variant causing a new wave of restrictions on businesses, most retailers are paying their rent at nearly pre-pandemic levels.

National chains have paid 95 percent of owed rent in August of this year. That’s just slightly below the nearly 97 percent paid during the same time in 2019, according to a monthly report by Datex Property Solutions. “There’s resiliency in retail,” Datex Property Solutions CEO Mark Sigal said.

The chains included in Datex Property Solutions’ survey have a minimum gross monthly rent of $250,000, or lease 10 or more locations. The report does not account for rent relief provided to retailers by their landlords.

Even mom-and-pop stores are making a comeback. After lagging behind in previous reports, non-national retailers paid 89 percent of owed rent, just below 92 percent in 2019.

Despite the encouraging numbers overall, some categories are still falling behind. Auto stores paid 73 percent of collections. In June, collections for the category were at 92.62 percent.

Movie theaters, a category that has consistently struggled, managed to pay 82.09 percent of collections. The category is likely weighed down by certain chains, like Cinepolis, which paid 16.84 percent of what was owed in August.

Other individual retailers similarly paid less than was owed. Lululemon Athletica coughed up just 71 percent of collections, while Victoria’s Secret paid 69 percent. Sigal cited the rise in e-commerce as well as placement of stores, such as in malls, as potential reasons for the stores’ lack of rent payments.

In addition to paying rent, some stores have done exceedingly well overall, with occupancy costs declining. Beauty supply stores have seen occupancy costs drop 13 percent since 2019. In the fast food category, occupancy costs fell 15 percent. Sporting goods is one of the most successful categories, with sales up 68 percent over 2019 and occupancy costs down two-thirds.

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