The UK’s biggest retailers have united against their landlords, calling for a radical change in the way they pay rents as the credit crunch continues to bite.

Retailers – including Carphone Warehouse, Argos and Boots – intend to appoint a representative to negotiate with property owners before the next quarterly payment is due in September. They will argue that they will only pay rent monthly in advance rather than quarterly.

The unprecedented move will shake the property industry. It comes at a time when retailers’ sales have been plummeting and the upfront rent payments have a huge impact on their cash flow.

The retailers understood to be backing the scheme also include Arcadia, Bhs, New Look, Carpetright, DSGi and Debenhams.

The move is expected to be resisted by landlords. Some have accepted monthly payments on out-of-town retail park units, but these negotiations have so far been kept under wraps for fear of opening the floodgates.