back to article Struggling company pleads with landlords to slash rents as COVID-19 batters UK high street. The firm's name? Apple

Apple is reportedly trying to negotiate a 50 per cent rent cut with its UK retail landlords as it wrestles with the high-street turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to The Sunday Times, Apple has asked owners of a portion of its 38-store UK network for a reduction and temporary forbearance of rents in exchange …

  1. Flak
    Meh

    My heart bleeds

    not!

    On the other hand, landlords may need to decide whether they want a longer term commitment from Apple or face the likely prospect that Apple may terminate leases at the earliest opportunity if landlords don't show flexibility and move elsewhere.

    It is a buyer's market for retail space at the moment and landlords will be very aware of that.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: My heart bleeds

      Proving the fact that Apple can be petty and selfish. It would cost waaaay more to relocate than the few months diminished income via shops. It takes lots of moohlah to build an Apple Store. Just accept you have been told "No" and move on.

      1. Commswonk Silver badge

        Re: My heart bleeds

        Proving the fact that Apple can be petty and selfish. It would cost waaaay more to relocate than the few months diminished income via shops. It takes lots of moohlah to build an Apple Store. Just accept you have been told "No" and move on.

        Normally a shop will determine its financial viability on the basis of income per square foot* and on whether that figure is rising or falling for any particular location. Given that Apple stores are more places of worship than trading posts they are more likely to be cost centres than profit centres, so I suspect that Apple is simply pushing its luck here.

        * Other measures are available, or so I am informed

      2. HildyJ Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: My heart bleeds

        Apple got where it is today by being petty and selfish. Just ask any creators, media or software, that deal with Apple. If there's money to be had, Apple will try to grab it.

        As far as moving their stores, they won't. The locations were selected for their advertising potential, not their profit potential.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: My heart bleeds

      I'm amazed Apple hadn't done this already.

      I've read a few pieces about big retailers demanding rent cuts from their landlords - and smaller ones like Apple ought to find it even easier - because they can clearly move a few tens of stores to new (cheaper) locations with a lot less hassle than a retail chain with 700 branches.

      My medium sized market town in the South East got a new in-town shopping centre 15 years ago. And it killed the High Street almost instantly, because it meant we had more retail space than we had shops. It did bring some out-of-town shoppers in, so we did get some extra shops - and footfall. But it also coincided with the massive rise of online shopping - and so even before lock-down the shopping centre had long-term empty spaces - let alone the charity shops and empty windows of the high street.

      From what I can see, landlords haven't wanted to lower rents, because a few empty shops and big legacy rents (especially for those stuck on long-term contracts) was the more profitable option. Now that's going to have to change, or we're going to have to start converting shops into flats.

      Obviously you'd expect Apple to take advantage of this. Neither they, or the landlords are charities. And actually I'm not sure it isn't a good thing. Our High Street looks awful, and has for years now. But it's not a sign of doom and recession, it's because people are buying online. So we either need rents to get cheaper so we can have small restaurants and nice interesting small shops to compete with shopping online (though that means allowing people to park) - or for landlords to sell up and have those places turned into flats, or something else useful.

      1. jonathan keith Silver badge

        Re: My heart bleeds

        I have a mad dream that High Street property would be acquired (probably with compulsory purchase orders) by the lowest level regional authority body - something like a town or parish council, and managed as a public good by a local not-for-profit organisation. Sort of like a Housing Association for commercial property. Rents would be capped at a minimum, businesses could apply for leases on vacant properties, but local residents and workers would have the final say on whether or not to allow a business to open, or to renew a lease, in a balloted vote.

        I know it's an idea likely riddled with flaws (and socialism!), but ultimately about the only thing that stands a chance of keeping our High Streets alive and reversing the chain-store desertification is some form of active localism.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: My heart bleeds

          jonathan keith,

          One problem with your desire for active localism is that it's not "evil corporations" that are to blame for all the ills in the world. Shops are closing down, partly because we don't go to them as much. Because we choose to shop online. One reason for this trend was that we've repeatedly voted against rises in local taxes - so local government partly fund themselves with town centre parking charges. Result, people shopping online. Shops aren't helped by paying higher business rates than online people pay for out-of-town warehouses, but then I think tax incidence theory says that the landlords pay a large chunk of those anyway, so I'm not sure how big an effect they have. I'd have thought wages are going to be a more important ongoing cost of retail over online.

          But it's like those villagers who complain that the local shop is closing down, as they drive to Tesco 10 miles away to get their stuff. If you want a village shop, you have to spend money in it.

          After all, in my town at least, the local shopping centre was part of the council's own reconstruction plan. And to be fair, they made the town centre a much more modern and pleasant place - by bulldozing the hideous 60s concrete monstrousities that had been there before. But they are therefore at least partly resonsible for messing up the High Street, and they set the business rates and car parking charges for the town too. So I'm not convinced the local council are going to be any better stewards of the High Street than the randomness of the market economy.

          1. jonathan keith Silver badge

            Re: My heart bleeds

            Oh, I entirely agree that the whole system is massively out of kilter, as a result of decades' worth of a multitude of contributary factors. At the moment it's rather like a badly-levelled washing machine with worn drum bearings that will eventually just destroy itself, and unfortunately Indesit don't sell shiny new High Streets, complete with three year warranties, for £200. However, something has to change, and as with so much else in the UK, I think that full-fat localism is a large part of the answer.

          2. hoola Bronze badge

            Re: My heart bleeds

            I have no sympathy for Apple here, they have the money, they, like the other Internet giant mitigate their tax to the point that they are bluntly not contributing enough to society so should pay. There are plenty of other companies that are going but but because there revenue stream has stopped dead in its tracks, particularly in the travel, leisure and entertainment sectors.

            One of the big issues that keeps being brought up are the high rents and business rates for central locations. If you are online only then you have a huge distribution centre that costs you peanuts in rent & rates. There are also far too many ways to weasel out of paying business rates on distribution centres because of the way it is calculated.

            What needs to happen is a complete revamp of business rates so that the distribution centres contribute more than they do. It is no use basing it on potential amenities and such like because the system is broken. A warehouse needs to have business rates based on volume and set at a realistic amount. Rents on these developments also need to go up but the problem is they are cheap to build, the land costs little and for the person selling, the amount is enough for them to up sticks and sit on an island in the sun so returns are easy.

            For traditional retailers, they also have distribution centre but by re-balancing business rate they can offset the costs of the physical shops. Rents are more problematic unless the same landlord owns the distributions parks as the investment in the shopping centre has already been made and they clearly cost more than a tin shed.

          3. Adelio

            Re: My heart bleeds

            Thats not the only issue.

            Getting into almost any town has been getting harder and harder. And if you drive, then there seem to be fewer parking spaces and the parking charges keep going up.

            "out of town" stores can be better because of free parking but they are not the silver bullet.

            Yes, on-line shopping can be a lot easier and quicker but for me there are some things i would never buy on-line. some clothes, Trousers, shoes, most food. To be fair as a Male, old fart I probably buy very little clothing now. After all, how many pair of shoes or trousers or almost anything can a person use?

            I know younger people appear to buy more cloths that the older generation. Are they really that vain?

    3. not.known@this.address Silver badge

      Re: My heart bleeds

      "It is a buyer's market for retail space at the moment and landlords will be very aware of that."

      If Apple want all the prime slots/only prime slots then their choices are more limited. But who will really lose out if they were to close every single store anyway (other than the poor souls who work there)? Those who think the company can do no wrong will continue buying the latest iShiny as it comes along. Those who don't like the company still won't buy anything from Apple.

      A longer term commitment from Apple is possibly an enticing prospect, but I can't help thinking that if the landlords give in once, Apple will take advantage and threaten to pull out every time rents go up - which means all the other clients will end up making up the shortfall because Apple would ever agree an increase if they can get out of it (to be fair, neither would anyone else. But few people/organisations have the power - and financial safety net - that Apple have. So they would have to eat the increase while Apple continue making money hand over fist).

    4. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: My heart bleeds

      It is a buyer's market for retail space at the moment and landlords will be very aware of that.

      Commercial leases are usually taken on multi-year leases, ~5 years is typical. This usually advantages the leasor as it locks in rent at current prices for several years.

      Depending on how long the current leases have remaining, and how much the landlord is prepared to burn their bridges with respect to future business after the leases expire, the landlord would be within their rights to force Apple to pay the contracted rate until the end of the lease, which Apple would have to keep paying until the end of their lease even if they relocated.

      This isn't a case of a bankruptcy (which could effectively dissolve all such leases and leave the landlords as creditors to a broke company), or even a struggling company that could reasonably ask for a rent reduction. As the article noted, Apple has ~$190billion in cash, not illiquid assets, but actual cold, hard cash on hand. They are not in any way struggling long-term. Their current revenues might be down, but the company is in no danger of going bankrupt for decades with the amount of cash they have on hand, even if their revenues dropped to nought.

      1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: My heart bleeds

        This isn't a case of a bankruptcy ... As the article noted, Apple has ~$190billion in cash, not illiquid assets, but actual cold, hard cash on hand.

        But "Apple UK", or whatever the company is for tax purposes, probably only has 75 pence to its name.

        I don't really have much sympathy for either side, capitalist bastard landlords versus capitalist bastard corporations.

        I'd grab the popcorn but I'm boycotting the capitalist bastards who manufacture that.

        The one with the Socialist Worker rolled-up in the pocket.

        1. Blazde

          Re: My heart bleeds

          "But "Apple UK", or whatever the company is for tax purposes, probably only has 75 pence to its name."

          Dead right. As of September last year just £2.6mil cash, and net assets of only £123mil. That's against staff costs of £204mil/year and total lease obligations of £258mil (~£20mil/year) so by now they're already needing a cheque from daddy company. The 'good' news is they'll book some juicy losses and avoid paying Corporation Tax here for the next 20 years.

          https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/04996702/filing-history

          (Of course if they declared bankruptcy the lost business, reputational harm, cost of setting up new retail subsidiary and some debt default would all fall on other group companies, so they won't do that).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: My heart bleeds

            Look at other morally bankrupt behaviour.

            Very wealthy JD Sports pushed Go Outdoor’s (it’s camping subsidiary) into a dodgy pre-pack administration where they bought back immediately from the administrators - minus debt, liabilities.

            Fucking shameful.

        2. NeilPost Bronze badge

          Re: My heart bleeds

          The $190bn rainy day money is sitting in banks in Jersey (UK self -governing dependency) since Apple moved it out of Ireland When the EU was aggressively chasing them. I guess they will keep it there, but add the €20bn tax refund from the Irish Exchequer - assuming they EU don’t appeal the ruling the other day.

          1. walterp

            Re: My heart bleeds

            Based on US laws and how banking is structured, for many US companies that have "savings" in Europe, the money is often sitting in the US accounts of the European banks. So Apple's jersey money could still be in the USA (just listed as European deposits rather than American deposits).

    5. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: My heart bleeds

      Just remember: What goes for the goose, goes for the gander. While I agree that Apple probably could suck this up, they are perfectly entitled to every tax break they can lay their hands on, and also perfectly reasonably ask their landlords for rent breaks if their neighbours were granted the same. Just remember that they asked for an extension of the lease in lieu of payment (i.e. they'll still pay what they would, but for a longer lease, which gives the landlord some certainty).

      Please note, I do not agree with what they *are* doing, the optics are... not good. I speak as someone who knows several retail landlords. As others pointed out, when retailers and landlords work together towards a mutual solution to avoid a cash crunch on both sides, then there is no bad blood and loyalty follows.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: My heart bleeds

        "they are perfectly entitled to every tax break they can lay their hands on"

        Sort of.

        Are the other players in the market, including some who may be smaller than Apple, entitled to a "level playing field"?

        E.g. any GloboCorp of Apple's size can play huge games with tax rules, and sadly many do.

        E.g. in which Country is Apple based (resident), for tax purposes?

        E.g. Apple have loads of money from offshore sales sitting in offshore accounts, rather than being repatriated back to Corporate HQ. If it went back to Corporate HQ, it would be taxed.

        But Apple and others have dividends to pay. The usual way to fund dividends would be to use the money from sales. Apple can't do that because the sales revenue is kept "offshore". So, Apple borrow money in order to pay their dividends????

        Nice work if you can get it.

  2. Khaptain Silver badge

    Greed knows no ends

    Everyday I just hate this company a little bit more.

    1. oiseau Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Greed knows no ends

      ... hate this company a little bit more.

      Indeed ...

      Greed knows no ends.

      Till you put an end to it, not much more to it.

      There's a saying in many Spanish speaking countries:

      Literally: "It's not the pig's fault, it's the fault of the one who feeds it"

      Something akin to not blaming the sheep but the shepperd.

      See the recent case of Ireland, Apple and the European General Court.

      Unbelievable.

      O.

  3. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
    Mushroom

    There are many independent sole-trader shops on the high street that are perilously close to financial ruin (Both for the business and the owners) who should be getting every break possible to keep them alive.

    Mega corps such as Apple should suck it up as part of their social responsibility.

    1. Greybearded old scrote
      Joke

      Upvoted because I needed a laugh today.

      (Cough, cough!)

    2. oiseau Silver badge
      WTF?

      ... as part of their social responsibility.

      Cheeky SOBs ...

      They don't have the slightest clue as to what social responsibility is or what it means.

      And Apple is not the only one.

      As long as they keep getting away with paying taxes of cents on each million made they will get greedier and greedier, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

      Not long ago we saw first Ireland and then the EU General Court fuck up a chance to start setting things straight as ruled by the European Commission to the tune of 13 billion euros.

      13 billion euros which Ireland or the EU obviously do not seem to need. (!)

      So that's how the world spins these days, to the tune of these greedy bastards.

      Interesting times.

      O.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        They don't have the slightest clue as to what social responsibility is or what it means.

        But that cuts both ways. Apple only exists because people buy Apple gear, so is it Apple that doesn't care about social responsibility, or Apple's customers? If enough of the people who claim to want social responsibility stopped buying Apple, would it make a difference? If not, that would suggest that it isn't really important.

      2. anothercynic Silver badge

        You appear to be conflating moral responsibility and legal responsibility. Morals are subjective. Laws are not (not meant to anyway). Apple and Ireland always insisted that there was no special treatment and the argument hinged on a legal point, which was that the Commission had not proven sufficiently that there was impropriety. Note that the court did *not* say "don't ever darken our door with this again"... they said "bring us the proof and we'll reconsider". So, the Commission can bring the case with more evidence, and if anything, this has put countries' revenue offices/ministries and the companies they have oversight over on notice that they had better have perfect paperwork or they would find themselves in court. Another little outcome of this is that Ireland closed its side of the grand 'double sandwich' (double Dutch-Irish, double Irish-Dutch) tax loophole, which the Netherlands *have not*, so fair dues to the Irish for having been jolted into action to stop abuse of their tax system.

        Also note that I don't have an opinion either way... but I do understand the nuance between 'moral responsibilities', 'legal responsibilities' and 'social responsibilities'. Often all three overlap to a great extent (potentially turning a great Venn diagram into a nice circle), but when it comes to law, they may not necessarily overlap at all. I'd venture to bet that some of the judges (who are after all lawyers) who had to come to the conclusion they did, did so with clenched teeth and much muttering of 'those goddamn swine' or similar under their breath.

    3. onemark03

      Mega corps such as Apple ...

      ... didn't get rich by being socially responsible.

      Disgusting but true.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mega corps such as Apple ...

        No company (other than those set up on social enterprise lines) survive by not negotiating prices, etc. negotiating rent is the same as minimising tax liability - it's part of running a business. I doubt that shutting down the majority of stores would significantly hurt Apple's bottom line - people would continue to buy, just online or through other outlets (CurrysPCWorld, John Lewis, etc) and independent repair shops would get a business boost. My experience of Apple stores has been that they're not bothered whether you buy or not - their job is to be there to help. That is good for those who have ready access to a store - if they went I suspect Apple would up their game online and benefit a wider range of customers.

        It's up to the landlords (often large businesses themselves) to decide whether they can get more rent from someone else. And the way the high street (and shopping malls are going) they gain more from keeping Apple onsite. Apple is not a charity - it's a business - something many people seem to forget.

        1. Colin 22

          Re: Mega corps such as Apple ...

          In the UK most shopping centres are owned by pension funds, so not mega cops, but indirectly by you and I.

          1. anononononono

            Re: Mega corps such as Apple ...

            Do they? I hear this a lot, that pensions companies own property and that's why it would be oh so terrible to make property prices reasonable again so we could afford them and spend cash on other things that would help the economy in many other ways for many people.

            I'm thinking if my rent came down by 50%, I could easily make up the shortfall for my pension and have cash to spend, to go out and support other businesses.

      2. Snake Silver badge

        Re: Mega corps such as Apple ...

        "don't get rich by being socially responsible."

        NOW, they don't. Corporations did fine for many decades whilst also being so but then "neo-liberal", "supply-side" economics came in and told the greedy that their exclusive concern for profits, "shareholder value"..."Greed is good"...was the only concern worth mentioning.

        And now, here we are.

        Our only hope (at least, "our" being the pronoun for those of us who feel any level of empathy for thy fellow human) is that the younger generations will tell the older generation in power that [still] supports those notions to go stuff off...as they, thankful, die off.

        1. anothercynic Silver badge

          Re: Mega corps such as Apple ...

          Funny you should mention this... Jeff Bezos famously thumbed his nose at Wall Street for the better part of the first decade or so of Amazon's life. He didn't pay dividends, the company was constantly making a loss. For *years* he resisted Wall Street, told them to bugger off. Why? Because he decided that all profits should be reinvested in the business to make it better, help it grow, and ironically, turn it into the behemoth it is today.

          Wall Street celebrated when the company turned its first quarterly profit and then its first annual profit (of $35 million) in the early 2000s. Profits remained small in the beginning and then grew quicker and quicker because the groundwork (the processes that make Amazon efficient) was laid and things started to take off.

          Of course, the *real* profit engine at Amazon now is AWS, which came to life as an internal infrastructure product (part of the groundwork to make Amazon's service run better), and which they then turned into a public product to help other companies run *their* service better (and of course make money off that while they're at it). AWS contributes 71% of Amazon's *profit*, despite only generating 13% of Amazon's revenue. The AWS margin is *huge*, books, DVDs, electronics, groceries, not so much.

    4. John Jennings Bronze badge

      Its the way of it

      Its called 'Fiduciary duty to shareholders'. Companies dont have 'social responsibility' if it has any impact upon their bottom line and could adversely affect shareholder value.

      If they can save a buck, then its required of them to at least try.

      It does improve your pension, but thats about it for the average joe-schmo.

      That it destroys Joe-Schmos current job and his childrens opportunities by decimating the high street, is not a concern.

      Modern ways, eh?!

      1. Blake St. Claire

        Re: Its the way of it

        You thought the LLC was just for the financial part?

        It also absolves the shareholders of having to have a heart, social responsibility, or noblesse oblige.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Its the way of it

        "Companies dont have 'social responsibility' if it has any impact upon their bottom line and could adversely affect shareholder value."

        With specific reference to limited companies in the UK, are you familiar with the COmpanies Act 2006?

        If you were, you'd know that this business about "the interests of the shareholders must be paramount" (to coin a phrase) is BS.

        Section 172 of the 2006 Companies Act (below) specifically says company Directors must consider the interests of employees, suppliers, community, environment etc, and not just in a short term context either.

        Obviously nobody ever bothers with this, and the consequences of ignoring it are nil, but this is The Law as it has been in the UK for a few years, so would contributors please not repeat the mistaken claim that (UK) law says the shareholders always come first.

        Better still, if you see the claim repeated elsewhere, point out the Section 172 obligations go wider (significantly wider) than just maximising short term shareholder profit.

        From e.g. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/46/section/172

        172 Duty to promote the success of the company

        (1)A director of a company must act in the way he considers, in good faith, would be most likely to promote the success of the company for the benefit of its members as a whole, and in doing so have regard (amongst other matters) to—

        (a)the likely consequences of any decision in the long term,

        (b)the interests of the company's employees,

        (c)the need to foster the company's business relationships with suppliers, customers and others,

        (d)the impact of the company's operations on the community and the environment,

        (e)the desirability of the company maintaining a reputation for high standards of business conduct, and

        (f)the need to act fairly as between members of the company.

        (2)Where or to the extent that the purposes of the company consist of or include purposes other than the benefit of its members, subsection (1) has effect as if the reference to promoting the success of the company for the benefit of its members were to achieving those purposes.

        (3)The duty imposed by this section has effect subject to any enactment or rule of law requiring directors, in certain circumstances, to consider or act in the interests of creditors of the company.

        [continues]

        1. anothercynic Silver badge

          Re: Its the way of it

          Great that you extensively quote the 2006 Companies Act. If you are going to rap Apple's local directors over the knuckles for being less than compliant with the act, then I would hope you do the same with every other 'badly behaved' company doing business in this country, including all those who demanded rent discounts whilst not paying their staff (a certain publican of the Brexit persuasion, and a sports clothing retailer and football club owner, amongst others).

          Remember, what goes for the goose, goes for the gander.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Its the way of it

            "If you are going to rap Apple's local directors over the knuckles for being less than compliant with the act, then I would hope you do the same with every other 'badly behaved' company doing business in this country"

            Thank you, it's a good thought, and if I had the time, I might.

            But I don't have the knowledge, let alone the time, to comment on the antics of Wetherspoon or Ineos or Dyson or even AO.COM.

            Hence my encouragement to others to remember that claims that "the needs of the shareholders are paramount" are nothing more than BS, as is the claim that the high street shops landlords are ultimately Joe Public's pension fund.

            Have a lot of fun.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Chris G Silver badge
    Trollface

    We should all pull together

    In these dark and difficult times we should be caring about and helping each other.

    To that end I suggest we start a Go Fund Me account and all contribute a little something to help Apple out in its time of need.

    I have some old roubles and pesetas I am willing to throw in, anybody else?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: We should all pull together

      No need, US taxpayers are already bailing them out with the fed buying Apple bonds (effectively giving them a bear interest free loan that will never be paid back)

    2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: We should all pull together

      I've a few thousand Italian Lira kicking around somewhere. That's gotta help, right? Thousands of anything are good...

      Oh. My coat? Yes, umm... that's it! The one with the pockets stuffed with obsolete currency.

      1. Apprentice

        Re: We should all pull together

        10,000 Italian Lira is equivalent to £4 today. What a crazy currency it was!

      2. markr555

        Re: We should all pull together

        Whenever anyone mentions the Lira now, I always think of the great Dennis Pennis put-down to Joan Collins - "I love the dress, you look like a million Lira"

  6. 2+2=5 Silver badge
    Joke

    It seems a perfectly reasonable request...

    It seems like a perfectly reasonable request - a reduction in store rents to help struggling companies survive seems reasonable.

    That's why Apple is considering requests from struggling app developers for a reduction in the percentage taken by the App Store, and I'm sure they'll be making an announcement any day now.

  7. Wolfclaw
    WTF?

    American corporate greed at it's best !

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      The people they're renting off are probably all corporations too. And if they'd lowered their rents 5 years ago, maybe shops would have been better able to face competition from online retailers - and the sector would be doing financially better and more able to pay rents.

      Rather like the breweries over-charging their pubs for rent, and then wondering why they keep going bust.

      1. Donchik

        Tragedy is your pension is probably invested in the High Street property and so it's a double whammy!

        Less tax income from Apple and its ilk, and your pension returns knobbled!

        Welcome to the corporate insanity that engulfs and consumes us all...

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Who says it's corporate insanity? Apple, quite logically, want to pay less for stuff. Commercial property companies want to charge as much as they can? Both are reacting to changing circumstances - while hopefully keeping as much cash as possible.

          In this case they're reacting to the move from high street retail to online, which has been predictable for a few years now, and the impact of a global pandemic - which was more of a surprise.

          Due to the long duration on leases, it's not a business that moves all that fast.

          However, investing in commercial property probably still makes sense. And if they income they can get from it drops, then they'll need to do something else with it. Fortunately the UK is experiencing a chronic housing shortage, so they may have a ready-made solution on hand - thus meaning their investment had a back-up plan built in.

      2. IGotOut Silver badge

        "Rather like the breweries over-charging their pubs for rent, and then wondering why they keep going bust."

        In many places (escepcially London) this is deliberate policy.

        Get a few 10's of thousands profit a year, or sell the plot for a few million.

        In other areas, they diliberatly build houses right next to pubs, knowing they will be able to fend off the complaints of noise from the new assholes that move in, therefore forced to close. This is most common for music venues or ones with outdoor spaces.

  8. lglethal Silver badge
    Go

    I am not an economics professor but...

    ... it always seemed to me like the number one thing that should have been done once the Pandemic and the shutdowns hit, was that a) Mortgage repayments should have been put on hold (for all properties), and b) rents should have been put on hold (again for all properties).

    Those hit by joblessness, furloughs or reduced hours would be safe in their homes for a bit, and the owners of such properties would only take a small hit (once their mortgage costs no longer had to be paid), and the only people hurting would be banks. And lets face it we'll end up bailing them out anyway, so we may as well get some benefit out of it.

    The only people who would lose out are those who rent out properties but dont have mortgages on them, but thats very much not a majority of people...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I am not an economics professor but...

      a) Mortgage repayments should have been put on hold (for all properties),

      Damn. That'll teach me to have paid off my mortgage. Early even.

      So what do I get instead?

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: I am not an economics professor but...

        The warm glow that comes from not worrying about having your home repossessed...?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I am not an economics professor but...

          And I also get the tax bill for the stimulus plan.

          Yeah, that and the $1200 one time payment that I make too much to have been eligible for.

          All the years up to my kids going to Uni I kept hearing about the financial aid they'd be eligible for. Except when we got there: yup, I made too much money for them to get any aid.

          Don't get me wrong, I'm actually fine with it. I'm just echoing what I hear from the rich assholes around me who constantly whine about how tough it is to be in the 24, 32, 35, or 37 percent federal tax bracket. boo hoo. In my state add another 6% for state income tax, or in California up to 13%. Then 6.2% for social security, 7.65% for medicare, and on top of that medical and dental, and in my state family leave. And people think you lot in Europe and the UK pay a lot of tax.

    2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: I am not an economics professor but...

      Many lenders here in Blighty offered payment holidays to mortgage holders. Could have tried to pass a law suspending all rent and mortgage payments, I guess. Unclear if it would have passed though.

      1. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: I am not an economics professor but...

        Mortgage holidays are offerred on many loans, but guess what, your still accumulating interest, which means you'll end up paying thoudands more in the long run.

  9. Empire of the Pussycat

    If Apple doesn't pay more if profits increase why should it expect a reduction if they fall?

    After all, it doesn't pay users for lost time/work when brand new Apple things are faulty out of the box, or borked by manufacturing defects or bugs.

  10. Stuart Halliday

    Damn you commies

    Apple has ever right to ask for a discount.

    It didn't get to be a greed guts by giving money away.

    Eventually it won't be able to increase it's profits and at that time stockholders will desert it in droves.

    1. DS999

      Re: Damn you commies

      Why would stockholders "desert it in droves" if they reached a point where they were no longer able to increase their profits? They make so much now that if they kept making that amount with a low single digit fall off per year, they'd still be one of the most profitable companies around long after all of us are dead.

  11. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    won't someone think of the landlords?

    on balance I'm with apple.

    1. Colin 22

      You are the landlord, via your pension

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "You are the landlord, via your pension"

        "You are the landlord, via your pension"

        Citation welcome.

        The vast majority of Brits barely have savings, let alone a pension fund.

        In the unlikely event that retail landlords do decide that "upward-only rent reviews" aren't really workable any more, the properties the landlords own will suddenly become not as valuable as they allegedly were. And it's Goodbye RBS (again), and goodbye various others too probably. That's when the real 'fun' starts.

        Meanwhilel, have a look at who owns the big shopping centres, and how much debt-funding has gone on (e.g. Intu, now in administration).

        https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-24/commercial-property-poses-61-billion-headache-for-u-k-banks

        1. Adelio

          Re: "You are the landlord, via your pension"

          if you ignore the state pension a lot of working people (Not all i agree) will also have another funded pension provided by the company they work for.

          I know people can, and do opt out but still there are a log of "private" pensions around.

  12. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Sales drop?

    IIRC it doesn't make any sales in its UK stores, somehow the iPhone you buy on Oxford St is sold in ireland

  13. IGotOut Silver badge

    Primark is a poor comparision...

    They continued to pay the rents and supliers, haven't used goverment money for furlough and have no online sales presence.

    Kinda makes Apple look even worse really.

  14. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

    Takes a big company to represent small interests

    It is not just Apple, it is individual shop owners who need rent reduced because their shops are loss makers. For a big company, if a shop is losing, it will be shut. Apple is making this issue more visible for all. Landlords have a long history of greed.

  15. Potemkine! Silver badge

    What can you do with $193.8bn these days?

    Won't anybody think of the billionaires?

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. Efer Brick

    Fairy tale ? Goose / Golden egg ...

    Though it'll be a cold day in hell, the owners have pension payments to meet

  18. Colonel Mad

    John Lewis

    They also pay for space at my local John Lewis, as well as having the showroom, I used to get my mobiles from them, but its a pain to buy anything other than an apple product because the rest are squirrelled away in some store room.

  19. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Welcome to MoronLand :-)

    Where the taxes stay in nice little offshore havens and the general public get f***ed by the Tories, f***ed by the companies, and f***ed by the billionaires who own both the Tories and the companies. Well, the British voters keep voting for them to keep on stealing their money, so I guess the British voters are happy and well lubed up and love being ripped off. And before anyone starts accusing me of being a gawd-damned-commie-barsteward, that lot are just as bad, if not worse, just in the opposite direction.

    Whatever happened to the middle ground where reasonable profits and reasonable taxes were the norm. These days it's all massive greed and huge profits at any cost and avoid taxes as much as possible.

    I hope that every single Apple landlord in the UK laughs hysterically and hangs up on them. If they pulled out entirely it'd only be one less greedy corporation here but it might make a difference, who knows.

  20. Sherrie Ludwig

    Won't blame them for trying.

    I won't pillory them for trying, asking for some slack is a reasonable response. Yes, they are one of the most profitable companies in existence, and did not get there by committing large acts of charity. Landlords are free to balance their desire for a tenant with their assessment of market conditions and likelihood of retaining this one.

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