New research has found that 850 retail jobs have been lost every working day so far in 2021, with experts warning that this could be just the “tip of the iceberg”.
Analysis from The Centre for Retail Research has revealed that administrations by large multiple retailers, those with 10 or more stores, have shed 27,096 jobs and earmarked 1,023 stores for closure since the start of the year.
Businesses affected by the pandemic are currently protected from eviction and winding up, as result of non-payment of rent, until 31 March. However, experts warn that further quarterly rent bills due for payment fall just four working days before on 25 March, “increasing the pressure on retailers even further”.
A ‘final’ extension to measures to counter against the threat of eviction was announced in December, giving landlords and tenants three months to come to an agreement over rent arrears. However, the national lockdown, with the stay at home message, subsequently shut up to 401,690 non-essential shops, according to real estate adviser Altus Group.
Whilst the Government is reportedly now considering a further extension, Professor Joshua Bamfield at the CRR, has said this will “simply kick the can down the road”.
He added that instead, Government loans enabling retailers to turn unpaid rents accumulated during the crisis into fixed-term repayable loans “could be the answer as part of a wider basket of support”.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has also revealed it expects Council income from business rates in England to rise to £24.84bn during 2021/22 up from £14.95bn collected during 2020/21, with the cost of the business rates holiday being revised up to £11.06bn with no provision for an extension within their forecasts.
Robert Hayton, UK president of Property Tax at Altus Group, said: “Lockdown restrictions and changing consumer habits mean our high streets are far from capable of bearing the burden right now” but stressed the extension “must be discerning and targeted to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.”