Daily Management Review

"Tsunami Of Closures" Faced By British Retailers Without Government Help


According to the warning of the industry lobby group the British Retail Consortium (BRC), if the British government does to extend the moratorium on aggressive debt enforcement, there will be a "tsunami of closures" in the retail sector of the country. This warning was issued by the industry body on Sunday.
The warning by the industry body was based on data form a survey and it said the landlords have issued warning to two thirds of British retailers that legal action will be taken by the landlords for recovering the unpaid rents from the retailers starting July 1 when the government announced moratorium comes to an end.
The BRC said that the accumulated total rent debt of 2.9 billion pounds ($4.1 billion) resulted from the closure of those retail stores, which were deemed to be "non essential" by the British government, during multiple Covid-19 lockdowns over the last 15 months.
The health crisis had severely affected the British retail sector and according to industry data, one in seven shops already lie empty.
Some of the landlords have given retailers less than a year to pay back rent arrears, said more than 80 per cent of the people tenants participating in the survey, the BRC's said.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said there can be closure of thousands of shops at the end of the moratorium on rent if there is no action taken by the government. She urged the British government to allow for further building ringfencing of the rent arrears that have built up during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as extension of the moratorium on repayment of these debts till the end of the current year.
"With this in place, all parties can work on a sustainable long-term solution, one that shares the pain wrought by the pandemic more equally between landlords and tenants," she said. "Without action, it will be our city centres, our high streets and our shopping centres that suffer the consequences, holding back the wider economic recovery,” she added.