Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley is demanding that all new rent deals across his high street empire are linked to store sales, making landlords’ income less stable.
Ashley’s businesses operate from a total of about 700 sites, making him one of the biggest players on the high street.
The sportswear billionaire is demanding deals that link up to 15% of the rent payable to turnover in new stores and those where leases are being renewed.
In a declining market, turnover rents help tenants by transferring some of the risk of future falls in sales to landlords, which have enjoyed the security of leases stretching for as long as 25 years, with rents that could be revised only upwards.
The downturn in the retail sector has been profound. British Land recently wrote down the value of its retail investments by 10.7% and heavily indebted shopping centre owner Intu said it may need to raise money through a rights issue.
The housing supply in England increased at a higher rate last year than at any time in the past 30 years.
There were 241,130 homes added to the country’s housing stock, 214,000 of which were new-build properties. It was the highest number since 1987, easily beating the figure of 223,530 for 2007-2008 before the financial crash.
The government figures for the year to the end of March, which take into account homes lost through demolitions, show a strong increase in housing supply despite the political and economic uncertainty that has existed since the Brexit referendum in 2016.
The tally remains below the government’s target of building 300,000 homes a year in England by the mid-2020s. The accumulated shortfall continues to grow every year.