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Lease or Purchase Decision: Wyndham Stores

Wyndham Stores operates a regional chain of upscale department stores. The company is going to open another store soon in a prosperous and growing suburban area. In discussing how the company can acquire the desired building and other facilities needed to open the new store, Harry Wilson, the company's marketing vice president, stated, "I know most of our competitors are starting to lease facilities, rather than buy, but I just can't see the economics of it. Our development people tell me that we can buy the building site, put a building on it, and get all the store fixtures we need for $17 million. They also say that property taxes, insurance, maintenance, and repairs would run $200,000 a year. When you figure that we plan to keep a site for 15 years, that's a total cost of $20 million. But then when you realize that the building and property will be worth at least $6 million in 15 years, that's a net cost to us of only $14 million. Leasing costs a lot more than that."

"I'm not so sure," replied Erin Reilley, the company's executive vice president. "Guardian Insurance Company is willing to purchase the building site, construct a building and install fixtures to our specifications, and then lease the facility to us for 15 years for an annual lease payment of only $1 million."

"That's just my point," said Harry. "At $1 million a year, it would cost us $15,000,000 million over the 15 years instead of just $14 million. And what would we have left at the end? Nothing! The building would belong to the insurance company! I'll bet they would even want the first lease payment in advance."

"That's right," replied Erin. "We would have to make the first payment immediately and then one payment at the beginning of each of the following 14 years. However, you're overlooking a few things. For one thing, we would have to tie up a lot of our funds for 15 years under the purchase alternative. We would have to put $5 million down immediately if we buy the property, and then we would have to pay the other $12 million off over six years at $2 million a year."

"But that cost is nothing compared to $15 million for leasing," said Harry. "Also, if we lease, I understand we would have to put up a $600,000 security deposit that we wouldn't get back until the end. And besides that, we would still have to pay all the repair and maintenance costs just like we owned the property. No wonder those insurance companies are so rich if they can swing deals like this."

"Well, I'll admit that I don't have all the figures sorted out yet," replied Erin. "But I do have the operating cost breakdown for the building, which includes $90,000 annually for property taxes, $71,000 for insurance, and $39,000 for repairs and maintenance. If we lease, Guardian will handle its own insurance costs and will pay the property taxes, but we'll have to pay for the repairs and maintenance. I need to put all this together and see if leasing makes any sense with our 12% before-tax required rate of return. The president wants a presentation and recommendation in the executive committee meeting tomorrow." (Ignore income taxes.)

a. Calculate the net present value of the investment if the property is purchased.
b. Calculate the net present value if the investment of the property is leased.
c. Should Wyndham Stores lease or buy the new store?

Solution Preview

a. The NPV of the property if purchased is -$13,488,810 (see Excel workbook, "Buy" worksheet).

b. The NPV of the property if leased is -$8,384,174 (see ...

Solution Summary

The solution includes explanations and an Excel workbook with calculations on the decision of whether the Wyndham Stores chain should lease or purchase a building based on the present value of both options.