In an effort to help its smaller business partners clear the coronavirus hurdle successfully, Walmart (WMT 3.23%) has opted to waive April rent for all in-store shops. These renters range from bank branch offices to restaurants, hairdressers, beauty salons, veterinarians, and optometrists. The company notes it has in excess of 10,000 such renters across its Supercenters and Sam's Clubs in the United States. The statement was issued jointly by Walmart CEO John Furner and Sam's Club CEO Kath McLay.
While the exact details of the arrangement aren't being made public, Walmart's specific use of the word "waive" suggests that its rent relief may involve giving its partners an entirely rent-free month, rather than simply postponing the payment. The retailer also stated, "we'll continue to monitor the need for additional support past April," since the exact duration of the COVID-19 outbreak is unknown at this point.
Walmart says it is offering the rent waiver in part to help its renters retain their employees during the business downturn caused by the coronavirus. However, it also says it encourages any partner employees displaced by the economic disruption to apply for a temporary position at Walmart itself, since it's planning to hire for approximately 150,000 such posts "in the coming months."