"Property costs are going to go up faster than all other forms of costs," Hornby said, addressing the British Retail Consortium's second annual retail lecture in London. "It's structural, it's in leases, it's in the natural terms and therefore finding really innovative ways of recycling costs is going to get more and more important."
Property cost analysts IPD Occupiers agreed, predicting rental costs would rise by 2%-3% between 2009 and 2015. Service charges had already increased above the rate of inflation, said IPD Occupiers director Christopher Hedley.
"I think some retailers haven't been paying enough attention to property costs, and they will be forced to do more in the next five years," he added. "The most popular locations are probably going to carry on seeing some above-trend increases."
Business rate rises in April had also pushed up costs for retailers, said a BRC spokesman. The rates went up as part of a five-yearly revaluation based on rental prices. Upward-only rent review clauses had put further pressure on retailers, who as a result might be paying more rent than on recently leased outlets, he added.
Niall Cassidy, director of lease advisory at BNP Paribas Real Estate said: "Rating is a different matter and perhaps more crucial for property costs. It is very important that retailers make those appeals where there's a possibility of getting the rate down."