Liberty International and Hammerson slumped yesterday amid fears that they would be hit by tenant insolvencies.

Liberty, the owner of the Lakeside Shopping Centre in Thurrock, Essex, which doubled its provisions for failed tenants last month, slipped 30.25p to a near-nine-year low of 469.75p. Hammerson, a part-owner of the Bullring complex in Birmingham, fell 30.5p to 527.5p.

Both have high net debt, and government-controlled banks, such as RBS and HBOS, are likely to refuse to roll over commercial property loans as they cut their own exposure. Neither property business has been helped by the fates of Adams, the children’s clothing retailer, and others that have followed Woolworths into administration.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, which is about to be appointed administrator of Adams, predicts that there will be 4,000 empty shops on the high street next year – not a sentiment likely to gladden a landlord’s heart.

The Times