Retailers are using the downturn to take advantage of driving better terms from their landlords, according to research from the CBI and property agent GVA Grimley.

The research shows that 65 per cent of retailers surveyed had secured improved contributions to fit-out costs from their landlords, while more than 40 per cent have secured longer rent-free periods.

Lease restructurings and reduced rents have also been secured by about a third of retailers as the credit crunch and falling tenant demand makes landlords more desperate than ever to secure their tenants.

The report also found that despite the new rules requiring business rates to be paid on empty properties, almost all retailers are burdened with surplus property.

90 per cent of those retailers surveyed said they had leaseholds they do not require and the report stated that with the market expected to deteriorate further, the situation is expected to worsen.

However, the report holds out little hope for retailers trying to get rid of this surplus space. It found that retailers are delaying acquisitions because of the economic uncertainty and warned: “This does not augur well for those retailers that have been struggling and are looking to offload surplus units.”