Susan Linehan Beaumont ’86: The TJX Companies, Inc., the world leader in off-price apparel and home fashions, is best known in America by the names Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, and HomeGoods. TJX has also introduced similar stores to Europe and Canada and recently acquired a retailer in Australia. In all, the company has some 3,600 stores, all of them leased. And most of those leases were negotiated by a team led by Beaumont, vice president, legal-real estate.
“Leasing is a win-win for both parties,” says Beaumont, from the Fortune 500 company’s headquarters in Framingham, Massachusetts. “The landlord gets revenue flow and we get a store selling our merchandise.”
Beaumont fell into leasing as an associate with Choate Hall & Stewart. “In law school, I had no idea there was such a thing as shopping center law,” she recalls with a laugh. In 1990, she was intrigued by an opportunity at TJX, which had two store divisions and operated only in the US at the time. Now they have eight store concepts in nine countries.
Beaumont has traveled widely. “My global team of fifteen real estate attorneys handles the negotiation of the leases for all of the stores as well as for our buying offices and distribution centers throughout the world,” she explains. “Procedures and laws are not the same everywhere and it is a challenge to operate in so many jurisdictions. However, we successfully do so in part by developing collaborative teams of in-house counsel and local counsel.”
Her team’s work is not limited to negotiating new leases. “When a retailer is in bankruptcy, we can make a bid for their leases in bankruptcy court. For example, we acquired a number of Sports Authority locations by buying the leaseholds,” she says. “It’s an opportunity to acquire good real estate.”