Urgent action is needed by landlords and the government to prevent 140,000 shops becoming vacant by the end of the year, says the British Retail Consortium.
Reacting to a report from credit bureau Experian, the BRC is calling for:
• Retail rents to fall in line with market realities.
• An immediate switch to monthly rent arrangements.
• A total freeze on business rates.
• A complete restoration of empty property rate relief.
Says Jane Milne, BRC business director (pictured): “Retailing is caught between falling sales and rising costs. Property is one of retailers’ major costs and it has spiralled out of control as landlords and the government cashed in on competition for prime sites during the boom times. A haemorrhaging of retail jobs and local services is now evident in many communities. Urgent action is needed by landlords and the government – boarded up shops help no one.
“Retailers need rents to fall in line with market realties, a wholesale switch to monthly rent arrangements, an immediate freeze on business rates and a complete restoration of empty property rate relief. All of this is required now, before decimated high streets cause a further collapse in public confidence - pushing the economy into steeper recession.”