Walmart (WMT) - Get Report, the nation’s biggest retailer, is responding to the coronavirus pandemic by giving free rent for the month of April to the more than 10,000 businesses that are located in Walmart Supercenters and Sam’s Clubs.
That includes hair and nail salons, optometrists, restaurant franchises, veterinary clinics and local and regional banks.
“This is a trying time for many of these establishments. … Some have had to temporarily close or significantly reduce hours and services,” John Furner, CEO of Walmart U.S., and Kath McLay, CEO of Sam’s Club, said in a statement.
“We want to help. That’s why we’re waiving rent for all Walmart property partners for the month of April, as well as for the hundreds of eye doctors who operate at Sam’s Clubs. It’s our hope that this rent relief will help these businesses financially weather the current situation and take care of their employees.”
Walmart said it may consider extending the rent break beyond April.
The company also is adjusting its supply-chain financing program to help its suppliers receive payments faster.
“We’re adding dedicated resources to speed up the on-boarding process, eliminating an eligibility requirement and adding JPMorgan Chase as a partner, joining existing partners Citibank and Wells Fargo,” the retailing titan said.
Walmart said last week that it’s hiring 150,000 workers to help with its coronavirus-inspired sales surge. It’s accelerating its hiring process to 24 hours from the usual two weeks.
The company also will pay bonuses to its hourly workers.
At last check, Walmart shares traded at $111.27, down 3.3%, while the S&P 500 index climbed 4.2%.