Landlords are preparing a package of measures to help small shopkeepers survive the retail downturn, allowing them to escape the potentially bankrupting effect of paying rent quarterly in advance.

Small and troubled retailers are to be offered monthly rents as a group of betterperforming store chains led by Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group and Lord Harris’s Carpetright lead calls for the reform of the centuries-old practice of quarterly bills.

With retailers fearing a prolonged freeze in consumer spending, independent retailers with three or fewer shops are the least capable to afford paying large chunks of cash in advance.

The country’s leading landlords including Land Securities, PruPIM and Hammerson met representatives from the retail sector last week to discuss proposals to spread the cost. It is expected that smaller independent retailers will be told they can pay monthly rents with little or no penalty in spite of the greater administrative cost to landlords.

Financial Times, The Times