Retail rents fell for the first time in 15 years in 2008 and will not return to growth until 2013, handing struggling retailers a potential lifeline to stave off administration.

The decline in annual rents will give retailers substantially more negotiating power over landlords, as they battle some of the toughest trading conditions on the high street for 30 years and as an extra 2.5 million sq ft of new UK shopping centre space opens in 2009.

Retail rents fell by 0.4% in 2008 – the first annual fall in rents since 1993, when they tumbled by 1.9%, according to the property services company King Sturge.

The Independent