While Cheesecake Factory (CAKE 1.75%) declared it will stop paying rent during the coronavirus pandemic and other companies have called for a "rent strike," one unlikely retailer, J.C. Penney (JCPN.Q), is honoring its monthly obligation.
Bloomberg reports that although the financially troubled retailer has closed its 850 stores across the country, one landlord for several J.C. Penney locations says it has been paid by the retailer for April without being asked to make any concessions.
There has been a growing tension between retail tenants and their landlords as businesses have been ordered closed in most circumstances to help control the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Retailers have been unable to generate revenue and largely have still been paying the wages and benefits of their employees, and can't afford to make the rent payments. Landlords like shopping mall operator Taubman Centers (TCO), which sent a letter to its tenants saying it expects them to pay their rent, have their own bills to pay.
If J.C. Penney had stopped paying rent, few would have been surprised. It has teetered on the edge of bankruptcy despite a surprise fourth-quarter profit. Analysts forecast revenue for the retailer will plunge at least 20% in 2020, and it is facing a possible delisting from the New York Stock Exchange because its stock has traded below $1 per share since January.