// Landlords may have to stump up £141 million annually in empty rates
// The government has provided financial support to businesses affected by Covid-19 with £10.13bn in business rates relief
// However, these measures have not extended to those properties which are vacant and to let
Landlords may be forced to pay nearly £1 billion in business rates for empty shops during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The collapse of both Debenhams and Arcadia group could see 14 million sq ft of retail space become vacant, according to research from real estate adviser Altus Group.
Landlords may have to stump up a further £141 million annually in empty rates, after a short exemption period, if new tenants cannot be found.
- Lockdown sees “modest” increase in retail vacancy rates
- Topshop flagship could be saved if Asos-Arcadia deal succeeds
Department store chain Debenhams is set to shut down all of its stores permanently as part of the liquidation process, and the recent deal with Boohoo, which will see it relaunch online.
Meanwhile, Arcadia Group is being eyed by fellow online retailer Asos, which also plans to take the brand online.
However, Retail Week reported on Tuesday that Asos is interested in saving the Topshop flagship store in London if its exclusive talks to buy Arcadia Group brands out of administration succeeds.
Through the business rates system, the government has provided financial support to businesses affected by the pandemic with £10.13 billion in business rates relief for retail, leisure and hospitality sectors in England – which is due to expire on March 31.
However, these measures have not extended to those properties which are vacant and to let.
Landlords have had to pay £924 million this current financial year in empty rates on their vacant retail properties.
Those with empty properties are having to face the impact of the rent moratorium, measures which the UK Government put in place to prevent struggling companies from eviction.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Retail Research said that around 358 retail stores each and every week will close in 2021 forecasting that a further 18,620 will close this year – an increase of 18.2 per cent on the 2020 calendar year.