U.S. Small Retailers Post Best Covid-Era Month for Paying Rent
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. small retailers had their best month yet in terms of paying rent in the pandemic era, the strongest sign that the local economy is finishing the year on a better note.
About one-quarter of small retailers said they couldn’t make rent in December, the lowest percentage since the Covid-19 crisis started, and a steep drop from 40% in November, according to a monthly poll by Alignable, a business-referral network.
The results match other recent data showing that American consumers have been eager to go out and shop in spite of the emergence of the highly contagious omicron variant. But they also mask steep inequalities: In the Alignable survey, 43% of minority-owned firms said they are still struggling to pay their rentals.
Businesses owned by women also have greater financial difficulties than the average, with 31% of them saying they had rent issues this month. The findings are based on 5,818 owners surveyed between Dec. 4 and Dec. 26.
Among states, only two saw a deterioration in rent delinquency among small business in December compared with the previous month: Michigan and Massachusetts.
By contrast, New York, which is usually among states with the most firms that face financial troubles, the percentage of owners struggling to pay rent slumped to 30% from 44% -- a notable improvement. Local businesses probably benefited from the surge in holiday shopping, according to Alignable.
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