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Coronavirus: McDonald's seeks rent cut from UK landlords

McDonald's has closed all its outlets in the UK

McDonald's is in talks with some of its landlords in the UK about cutting rent payments as the fast food chain prepares to reopen some of its sites.

Businesses face their next quarterly rent bill on 24 June when they are due to pay for the next three months.

McDonald's said it has paid in full for the current quarter.

However, it said that "given the unprecedented situation", it was in talks with landlords about how they could "offer support" on rent.

McDonald's has closed all its outlets in the UK because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesman for the company said: "We have opened dialogue with some of our landlords to discuss how they might offer support on rent and service charges for a short period due to our restaurants not trading."

McDonald's plans to reopen 15 outlets in the UK for delivery only services on 13 May.

Other food chains such as Burger King and Yo! Sushi did not pay rent to landlords in the UK when it fell due in March.

The government has implemented some measures to help businesses who are struggling to pay their rent.

But shopping centre-owner Intu said recently that it was considering legal action against some big brands who have money but are "not engaging" in rent negotiations.

Intu, which owns Manchester's Trafford Centre and the Lakeside in Essex, declined to name the brands.

In April, the British Retail Consortium and the British Property Federation both wrote to Chancellor Rishi Sunak seeking more support for shops and landlords.

McDonald's plans to reopen some UK sites in May for delivery-only orders

They want the government to support a "furloughed space grant scheme" where businesses would pay some rent, landlords would agree to a reduction and the state would make-up the shortfall.

A spokesman for the Treasury said: "We recognise the current challenges facing commercial landlords and the significant impact recent changes are having on their business models. We also recognise that many landlords are working closely with tenants to find solutions that work for both parties."

"Our package of support for businesses currently includes our new bounce back loans, which provide quick and easy support for eligible companies that is interest-free for the first 12 months, our job retention scheme and other measures such as protecting commercial tenants from eviction."

Last week, McDonald's revealed that the coronavirus outbreak had sent first quarter like-for-like sales down 3.4%.

It said around three quarters of its outlets across the world remained opened and were serving people via drive-throughs, delivery or takeaway services.

But the UK is among a few of its markets where it has temporarily closed all of its sites. Others include France, Italy and Spain.