Retail Property - Retailers: no surrender on upward-only rent reviews

Retailers have slammed the door on any thoughts of compromise with the landlords' lobby on upward-only rent reviews.

A recent poll of BRC members has found an overwhelming 88 per cent of retailers want the Government to legislate to ban upward-only review clauses in leases.

The survey drew responses from 61 retail businesses with a combined turnover of more than£75 billion, representing almost a third of all retail sales in the UK.

They were all clear that such a move would improve the trading environment: 54 per cent of retailers believe a ban would result in fewer stores closures.

Equally, 71 per cent believed it would improve flexibility and choice in the commercial property market, and 80 per cent felt it would help them respond better to market conditions.

BRC director-general Kevin Hawkins said: 'The Government asked for views on the options proposed and this survey provides the evidence. There is now no doubt that upward-only rent reviews are damaging profitability and contributing to store closures.'

He said the results of the survey will be incorporated into the BRC's response to the Government's consultative document, which sets out six options, ranging from keeping the status quo to an outright ban on upward-only rent reviews.

'Our survey confirms retailers' concerns that a voluntary approach simply isn't working. We urge the Government to legislate as soon as possible. Doing nothing simply isn't an option,' Hawkins said.

- Leader: page 31.