High street

Retailers have paid 22% of their latest quarterly rent bill, according to figures from Colliers International.

Data from the portfolio managed by the property agent suggests retail paid the same amount on Wednesday 24 June, the latest payment day, as it did on the first day of the last quarter.

Across the commercial property sector overall, 36% of the bill was paid.

It comes a week after the government extended protections for commercial tenants, including a ban on evictions for non-rent payment, for three months, until 30 September.

Landlords would be relieved that the sum paid this week was not lower, according to Colliers head of property management Mark Jarrett.

“Normally landlords can expect to receive 95% of their rents and charges on time, and only those businesses who are struggling will default,” he said. “At March’s quarter day we saw 22% of retailers paying their rent, and this figure has remained stable three months later, despite most businesses being forced to close due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

“Today’s figures are welcome relief for landlords who had feared that payment rates would be lower as many retailers have been unable to trade at this time. Now that non-essential shops have been able to reopen and more businesses will be opening from 4 July, we can expect a more favourable outcome this quarter.”

The proportion of the bill paid had risen significantly by the end of the last quarter according to Colliers, to 62%. A growing number of retailers were switching to monthly payments rather than quarterly, meaning more of the latest bill would gradually be paid before the next rent day.

Retails changing payment terms during the crisis include Poundland, which The Grocer this week revealed has switched to monthly in arrears across its estate.

“The best thing for landlords to do at the moment is to keep talking to their tenants, because if they have an occupied and trading business in their premises now, then they’re in better shape than 25% of landlords with empty properties,” said Colliers co-head of retail agency David Fox.