As retailers face falling sales during the recession, the payment of three months' rent up front could push some over the edge, in what the British Retail Consortium is predicting to be the ‘toughest’ in 18 years.
The consortium fears that some retailers could go under and is calling for rents to be paid monthly instead.
Stephen Robertson, the director general of the BRC, said: "A dismal Christmas for many retailers and following the year's lowest spending months [January and February] has meant the toughest quarter day since the early 1990s."
He asked landlords to ‘show wilingness’ and change leases to monthly terms. The BRC also called for landlords to put an end to upwardly-only rent clauses, which allow landlords to increase rents each year regardless of economic conditions.
Ahead of the December 25th rent quarter day, Woolworths and the entertainment retailer Zavvi went into administration.
Some of the UK's big landlords said they are engaging with retailers on monthly rents and other concessions, but explained they need to safeguard the interests of their shareholders, including institutional investors and pension funds.