Relief appears to be on the way for beleaguered retailers, whose rents have remained high despite an increasing number of empty units.
Figures from property consultants DTZ have shown that rising vacancies at shopping centres, high streets and retail parks have forced landlords to lower rents by close to a third over the past year.
DTZ estimates that as much as 28m sq ft of retail space has been put into insolvency during the past 18 months – around 5,550 stores on the high street and in shopping centres, largely due to high profile retail collapses like Woolworths.
Retail parks have also seen their vacancy figures rise sharply, due to staple tenants such as furniture chains falling on hard times. Figures from DTZ show that vacancies have increased from 8.3 per cent in 2007 to more than 15 per cent year.
Much of the fall in rent prices has been put down to landlords offering several years of 'free' rent in return for signing long-term leases on retail outlets. However, there have been musing that this fall could lead to lower prices over all, as many retailers' rental agreements come up for renew.