H&M
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21 Companies Refusing to Pay Rent as Millions of Americans Face Eviction

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H&M
Justin Sullivan / Staff / Getty Images News / Getty Images North America / Getty Images CC

Leveraging the Pandemic

COVID-19 has dealt a crushing financial blow to the retail sector, sending more shoppers online and slashing foot traffic even in reopened stores. Retailers have responded by conserving cash in any way possible, including by paying only a fraction of their rent — or in many cases, no rent at all. The situation is slowly improving, but many companies are still behind, much to the chagrin of individual renters who don't have the luxury of not paying up. Here are just a few of the retailers butting heads with their landlords during the pandemic.

Related: 15 Ways the Coronavirus Has Changed Americans' Daily Lives

Gap Inc.
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Gap Inc.

After temporarily closing chain-wide during the spring, Gap Inc. stopped paying rent for its more than 2,700 stores in April, skipping out on payments amounting to $155 million, according to Forbes. The move has been met by lawsuits from landlords including major mall owners Simon Property Group and Brookfield Properties. Simon accuses Gap of "taking opportunistic advantage" of the pandemic by refusing to pay rent even for re-opened stores.

Related: 14 New Rules for Clothes Shopping During the Pandemic

Starbucks
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Starbucks

The proverbial 800-pound gorilla of coffee chains stunned its landlords by requesting a full year of rent concessions starting in June, citing the "staggering economic cost" of the pandemic. It's unclear how many of its landlords are cutting the company a break, but many vowed to collect their full payments — or take Starbucks to court as needed.

Related: 18 Restaurants That are Closing Locations This Year

AMC
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Nordstrom
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JCPenney
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J. Crew
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The Cheesecake Factory
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Chuck E. Cheese
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Bath and Body Works
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24 Hour Fitness
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Dave & Buster's
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Dave & Buster's

In response to a chain-wide shutdown, Dave & Buster's withheld its April rent payments and negotiated some form of rent relief with many of its landlords. It has slowly reopened many locations over the summer, streamlining store hours and reconfiguring its arcade layouts to allow for social distancing. 

Macy's
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Macy's and Bloomingdale's

While Macy's may be in better financial health than many of the nation's struggling department store chains, that's not saying much, especially during the pandemic. Macy's has struck deals with many landlords to delay rent payments, according to CNBC. However, at least one landlord has sued, saying Macy's-owned Bloomingdale's owes $2.5 million for an outlet location on Broadway in New York City.

Mattress Firm
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Mattress Firm

Mattress Firm is yet another chain still reeling from extended store shutdowns. After a lot of back-and-forth with landlords, the nation's most prominent mattress retailer settled on a deal to pay only part of its rent earlier this year. By the end of April, the chain had paid only 26% of its rent, according to Datex.

H&M
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H&M

The landlord of fast-fashion empire H&M's largest store, Herald Square in New York City, has been stiffed on $4.2 million in rent and other fees, according to a lawsuit filed in June. It's just one of the landlords that has lost out on rent as H&M has tried to cut costs during the pandemic. The chain also furloughed workers and has struggled to pay rent at its locations abroad, too, including in Germany and the U.K.  

Lane Bryant
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Ascena Retail Group

The parent company of Ann Taylor, Loft, and Lane Bryant has also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy during the pandemic. Its filing showed it owed $31.7 million in rent to landlords including Simon Property Group and Brookfield Properties. According to Datex, Lane Bryant and Ascena's tween chain, Justice, failed to pay rent entirely since the end of March. Ascena's restructuring plans include closing all of its Justice stores and transitioning the brand online.

Related: Beloved Businesses We Said Goodbye to This Decade

Red Robin
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Red Robin

This casual family restaurant has the dubious distinction of falling behind on rent not just on its restaurants, but on its corporate offices. The owner of its headquarters outside Denver sued Red Robin for nonpayment in April and May. Red Robin was also paying only partial rent on some of its restaurants, and executives and some other support staffers were taking pay cuts to help the chain save money.

Bed Bath & Beyond
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Claire's
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Claire's

This tween-favorite destination for jewelry and accessories filed for bankruptcy in 2018, but was able to reopen later that year after eliminating nearly $2 billion in debt. But the pandemic hasn't been kind to the mostly mall-based retailer, nor to its landlords. Claire's had only paid 2.6% of its rent in June and none in May, according to data from Datex.

Brooks Brothers
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Brooks Brothers

Many people are working in sweatpants instead of suits right now, a reality that has meant financial disaster for Brooks Brothers. The businesswear chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year and owes rent to the tune of $7.2 million. Still, it just received approval from a bankruptcy court to delay those payments into September. The company has also shut down U.S. factories, furloughed some employees, and cut salaries. 

Related: Travel Agencies and 20 Other Businesses That Are Disappearing

Foot Locker
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GNC
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