Britain’s retail sector will endure a “tsunami of closures” if the government does not extend a moratorium on aggressive debt enforcement, industry lobby group the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said on Sunday.
Citing survey data it said two thirds of British retailers have been told by landlords they will be subject to legal measures to recover unpaid rent from July 1 when the moratorium ends.
Many UK retailers deemed “non essential” had to close their stores during multiple COVID-19 lockdowns over the last 15 months, accruing total rent debt of 2.9 billion pounds ($4.1 billion), the BRC said.
The pandemic has hammered the sector and industry data shows one in seven shops already lie empty.
The BRC’s survey found 80% of tenants said some landlords have given them less than a year to pay back rent arrears.
Without action, the end of the moratorium could see thousands of shops close, said BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson.