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Retailers must work with landlords to beat downturn

Francis Salway, the BPF’s president and chief executive of Land Securities, appeared on the BBC’s Today Programme and Radio 5 Live’s Wake Up To Money insisting that many landlords – such as Land Securities – had embarked on monthly rent payment talks more than six months before the BRC joined Sir Philip Green’s campaign for all leases to be switched away from quarterly payments.

The BPF also assured the BBC’s lunchtime news that its members were showing themselves more than willing to discuss monthly rents on a case-by-case basis.

It warned that the predicted 15% vacancy rate of current retail premises was a worrying statistic that posed just as big a headache for the property industry as it did for retail, particularly when the added burden of the Government’s empty rates policy was taken into account.

It is estimated that rent is around only 6% of retailers’ turnover while staff costs accounts for 40% of turnover.

The BPF is pressing the point that landlords are suffering just as much as retailers and that the key to survival for both parties will be a close working relationship that seeks to drive down costs, increase efficiency and promote transparency.

"We need our retail tenants just like they need their own customers. The truth is we’re all suffering and our members are making every effort they can to move forward and promote the kind of flexibility everyone wants from their business partners," said director of finance policy Peter Cosmetatos.

"The British Retail Consortium’s support over the empty rates campaign has been very welcome and this is a great example of where we can work together to ensure a better business environment for our collective memberships. Now, more than ever, we need to strengthen these relationships and do our best to speak with one united voice," he said.

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