Magnanimity isn't a characteristic regularly associated with major retailers, but the deal which New Look's Phil Wrigley and Sir Philip Green brokered with landlords to help small retailers will be a huge boon to beleaguered independents.

Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to cashflow difficulties and spreading rent payments out on a monthly basis rather than four big quarterly chunks will make a big difference to many otherwise perfectly sound retailers that have found themselves suffering with as a result of the downturn.

Landlords are wise to accede to the move. Good centres need good independent retailers in order to stand out from the crowd.

And the landlords that have participated, led by Francis Salway of Land Securities, have shown that the property industry is not stuck in the dark ages.

But this is still a relatively small concession, which has taken three months to achieve since Green launched his campaign for monthly rents in August.

It's important that this is seen as a first step in a move towards monthly rental payments becoming standard.

The past week has shown just how brutal the world has become for retail in the UK. Landlords have their own problems too, but more retailers going bust will only make them worse. A move to monthly rents across the board might just make the difference between survival and failure for some retail businesses.