The British Property Federation (BPF) has called on retail leaders to work with landlords to beat the recession.

It has warned that the predicted 15% vacancy rate of retail premises poses ‘just as big a headache for the property industry as it [does ]for retail’, particularly on top of the unpopular empty rates policy.

Landlords are suffering just as much as retailers, the BPF said, adding that ‘the key to survival for both parties will be a close working relationship that seeks to drive down costs, increase efficiency and promote transparency’.

It estimates that rent is around only 6% of retailers’ turnover while staff costs accounts for 40% of retailers' turnover.

Peter Cosmetatos, director of finance policy at the BPF, said: ‘We need our retail tenants just like they need their own customers.

‘The truth is we’re all suffering and our members are making every effort they can to move forward and promote the kind of flexibility everyone wants from their business partners.

‘The British Retail Consortium’s support over the empty rates campaign has been very welcome and this is a great example of where we can work together to ensure a better business environment for our collective memberships.

‘Now, more than ever, we need to strengthen these relationships and do our best to speak with one united voice,’ he said.