The property industry is fighting back with PR against struggling retail chains using CVAs to save their business by getting out of crippling rents before they sink the whole business.
(See this recent article in The Times https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/anger-over-dividends-taken-from-monsoon-and-accessorize-as-stores-face-closure-r5wcnpwnx)
- Is it's PR campaign based on what good value these rents in fact are, and these properties have lots of other retailers queuing up to rent them? (No)
- Is the campaign based on all the wonderful investment retail property landlords are doing to attract shoppers to help shops? (No)
- Is it based on retail property companies belatedly waking up and accepting that they can't make the easy money of the past and need to cut rents to help their customers... the shop owners ? (Hell no!)
It is instead based on the argument that these retail businesses were doing well a decade ago, paid themselves lots of profits... and so should keep on paying high rents in 2019. This is despite the whole way most people shop has changed and these shops are now under threat of disappearing the way numerous other brands have done recently.
One might turn the argument back on the property companies... and it is a shame the journalists at The Times did not ask the question rather than unthinkingly swallow the guff they were fed).
Retail property companies have made lots of profits in a benign environment for decades... why have they not reinvested some of this to make shopping centres and high streets a compelling experience that makes their rents value-for-money rather than an albatross around the neck.
One might even argue that these landlords have brought the problem on themselves. Over the past 20 years they filled up every shopping centre with the same bland but wealthy national brands so that one high street is pretty much like the next. Great for landlords while these retailers were doing well... but now the reckoning is coming as they're doing badly, and all the local businesses that might have taken their place are long since gone.
Anger over dividends taken from Monsoon and Accessorize as stores face closure