Adidas and Deichmann ask for understanding

Essen ((TEH)) – Boycott calls on the Internet and sharp criticism from politics: Adidas, Deichmann, and H&M have stung into a wasp nest with the announcement to temporarily suspend the rent for their branches closed due to the corona pandemic.

The companies obviously did not expect this reaction. The owner of the largest German shoe retail chain, Heinrich Deichmann, was horrified.
“Our corporate philosophy is geared towards serving people. It is very hard for us to assume that we would like to enrich ourselves in the crisis. That is not the case at all, “he told the German Press Agency.
“We never said that we would no longer pay rents. We asked our landlords to defer our rents, ”emphasized the 57-year-old, adding:“ If a landlord is unable to cope with a deferral economically, we will help him and then we will also pay the rent. ” At the same time, the entrepreneur left no doubt that he expected concessions from the landlords in view of the state-ordered closings. “We will ask the landlords to pay part of the rent damage,” he said. After all, there are 1,500 branches in Germany alone.
Deichmann emphasized that the shoe retailer was fundamentally well funded. But the coronavirus crisis is also a challenge for him. “We operate in 30 countries. Our stores are closed in 28 countries and we have no idea when these closings will end. So we have to try to protect our employees and their jobs. ”
Whether Deichmann has to apply for state aid depends on how long the crisis lasts. “If we can reopen our stores on April 20, it won’t be necessary. But if the stores were to remain closed for three months, we would also have to think about it. ”
The entrepreneur fears that even after the stores reopen, business will start rather slowly. “”We saw that in China, and it took a while there for sales to reach pre-crisis levels again.” He also expects a discount battle. “The longer the closure takes, the less the goods fit the season. In addition, unsold goods are piled up in the warehouses. Then you will surely see that a lot is reduced. ”
Adidas boss Kasper Rorsted had already tried to limit damage in an interview with the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Newspaper” last weekend. The company was not interested in not paying the rent for April, but only in deferral, he said. At the same time, the manager emphasized that the landlords were almost exclusively large real estate marketers and insurance funds, which would have mostly shown understanding for the measure. Only four of the landlords are private individuals. “You will receive your April rental as usual. We are well aware of our responsibility, “said Rorsted.
H&M also emphasized on Monday that the first step was only to suspend payments, not to pay no rent. The managing director of H&M Germany, Thorsten Mindermann, emphasized: “Our primary goal is to quickly find individual solutions for rents with all of our partners, both private and institutional landlords.”
The behavior of the retail chains had met with a lack of public understanding. After all, Adidas had only recently posted a billion-dollar profit for the past financial year. And Deichmann and H&M are also considered solidly financed.
Federal Minister of Justice Christine Lambrecht (SPD) had criticized: “If financially strong companies simply no longer pay their rents, this is indecent and unacceptable.” Other ministers had also expressed their lack of understanding. The president of the real estate owners association Haus & Grund, Kai Warnecke, said: “The retail chains are deliberately taking the law as an occasion to suspend rental payments. That is absolutely abusive. It undermines payment behavior. ” Boycott calls were made on the Internet.