4/16/2020 | By Sarah Borchersen-Keto
Kimco Realty Corp. (NYSE: KIM) CEO Conor Flynn said the REIT’s large national retail tenants need to pay their rent so that financial assistance can get to where it is needed most—small shop retailers.
In an April 15 REIT Report interview, Flynn—who was recently diagnosed with COVID-19 and suffered mild symptoms—outlined the REIT’s efforts to help its ‘mom and pop’ tenants, including rent deferral and its new Tenant Assistance Program (TAP).
Flynn said TAP’s aim is to help its smaller tenants “bridge to the other side of this” by offering free legal services to help them navigate federal and statewide assistance programs. “Time is not on the side of our small shop retailers,” he said.
Kimco has been successful in collecting rent from its grocery and essential retail tenants that are “thriving in this environment,” Flynn said. Kimco’s portfolio is close to 80% grocery anchored.
Flynn also said he expects the adoption of e-commerce will accelerate. However, he emphasized that most online orders are being fulfilled by the store base. “The silver lining in all this is never has it been more important to have physical grocery stores, to have physical brick and mortar,” he said.
Flynn also discussed Kimco’s balance sheet strategy.
“Liquidity is critical at times like this and luckily we’ve been preparing for—not necessarily a pandemic— but for when the cycle was going to end,” Flynn said. “No matter how long the storm lasts, we’ve positioned Kimco to be a survivor.”