“Retailers are already struggling for survival and have been further impacted by consumers reigning in their discretionary spending between January to March, following the Christmas period,” says Cohen. "The quarterly rent bill may force a significant number into administration as the financial pressure becomes too much.
“It may also spark an increase in firms opting for pre-pack administrations [companies going into administration having already agreed a sale of assets] as they seek a way out of crippling financial difficulties, often with a view to commencing some form of operation again in the future.”
The British Retail Consortium (BRC), meanwhile, is urging landlords to show more flexibility on rent rates and is asking the government to put an immediate freeze on all new business rate burdens.
"Hard-pressed retailers face rent bills totalling hundreds of millions of pounds," says the BRC. "Traditionally commercial landlords demand rents be paid in advance, four times a year, on the quarter days. It is an anachronism dating back hundreds of years to the days when horseback was the fastest means of communication."
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