As Debenhams brand moves online, Landlords are left with 148 football pitches worth of vacant space and a rates liability of £50 million
It was announced earlier this week that fashion brand Boohoo acquired high street stalwart Debenhams for £55 million, and while it’s good news that the historic brand survives, it came with the not so good news for high street Landlords that the online retailer had no plans to keep the 118 stores open.
The move affects a staggering 1,059,958 sq m, or 11.4m sq ft, of retail floor space in England and Wales alone and represents yet another blow for Landlords in an all too familiar trend as retailers move away from bricks and mortar. If new Tenants cannot be found, Debenhams’s former Landlords potentially face annual business rates liabilities of circa £50m once possession of the stores is taken back from the liquidators.
The pandemic has hit the high street hard, and while there continues to be no assistance for Landlords when faced with Occupiers vacating their properties, Occupiers too are waiting to hear if the Government will extend retail relief measures beyond 31st March 2021.
In such a turbulent time for UK businesses, the Altus Group Empty Rates Specialist Team is committed to providing strategic advice to our Landlord clients when faced with increasing vacancy levels. The team work closely with our clients to put in place innovative solutions, tailored to suit the property and location, aimed at minimising exposure to rates liability and providing the best possible outcome.