UK: Wine retailers battle to meet rent payments

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Wine retailers have joined the British Retail Consortium in asking for more flexibility from landlords on rent payments during the economic downturn.

A fresh round of quarterly rent payments for retail space was due yesterday (25 March) and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has warned that many of its members are struggling to find the money.

Amid falling retail sales and one of the worst recessions for a generation, the BRC has called on landlords to be more flexible. It has asked for landlords to accept monthly rent payments rather than quarterly ones, to reduce pressure on retailers' cash flow.

A number of wine retailers have backed the BRC campaign, including First Quench Retailing, which owns the Threshers and Wine Rack chains.

"We have been negotiating with landlords in recent months" a spokesperson for First Quench told just-drinks, adding that the company has "some concerns" about the situation.

He added: "Monthly payments in the current climate are a much more practical way of running things."

Earlier this month, First Quench said that it had begun a consultation with staff that could lead to nearly 80 job losses. The group has around 1,500 outlets and employs 12,000 staff.

A spokesperson for the Oddbins wine retailer could not be reached for comment this afternoon (26 March). It is thought that the Majestic wine retailer also backs the BRC campaign, although a spokesperson could not be reached for further details. 

Sectors: Wine

Companies: Majestic Wine

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