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Forcing lower rents/rates to improve Victoria Road?

8 years ago...

So C'est Bon is reborn as another charity shop, this time for Quit.

It is not really surprising in this climate, with charity shops getting up to 80% rent/rates discounts, no one else can afford to set up a business, especially in a relatively expensive area like Surbiton.

As others have said, a charity shop is better than an empty shop, but there must be a limit to how many are beneficial in a small town?

Surely, the landlords have an interest in lowering the rents to ensure that their properties are let rather than laying empty or being let at tiny rates?

The internet has created a new paradigm with all of the direct orders meaning that shop owners are not selling as much through their bricks-and-mortar outlets as they did before. Surely the rents have to come down to reflect this, or no-one would bother opening shops at all any more?

Clearly, we are going to see a continuing decline in the high street, but this needs to be managed. I would envisage Victoria Road looking quite different in 25 years time - many more leisure/restaurant outlets, far fewer shops with some of the ground floor units perhaps converted back to residential use.

That all sounds quite nice, but it is what will happen in the intervening period that worries me. The area around HSBC in Kingston has turned into a real shop squat centre of late, with about 6 shops offering market stall clothing and mobile phone unlocking. I am guessing these retailers get a rent/rates discount as well? Thankfully, Surbiton has not attracted this type of thing yet presumably because the footfall is much lower.


I'm now seeing a trend of limited companies opening up and shutting down 1 year later knocking the landlord and must people I PRESUME

It seems to be the only way most people would even try the risk of paying such high rent (as a limited company)

I think the law needs to be changed to stop this from happening this will leave a lot more shops empty until the market price is forced down

I also believe it is the estate agents that are partly to blame for this as they will always try to push for the highest price they can get for a property.
Some may say rightly so, but of course this has a knock on affect by not charging a sensible rate all the little people get pushed out and only the big franchises can survive. BYE BYE CUSTOMER SERVICE

I am looking for a shop in the Surbiton area at the moment and I have seen all sorts of bad practice being carried out where the estate agents should not even have these places on the market due to reasons like, Unsafe structure, illegal Drainage, and general not confirming to standards.

I really hope this all changes soon, But unfortunately I think every thing is uncertain until the euro referendum at least

BTW Surbiton plaza is going on for 46k per shop plus rates a year. Adding to the point of franchises only

Does anyone have the phone number for this QUIT Charity shop, as the lady there stocks really smart coats!


A regular coat hunter!

When customers visit local shops and say "we can buy it on the Internet for 10%/50% less" they don't consider that the main reason for this is that the Internet seller has no shop, staff, rent or business rates to pay. If zone A high St rent is £40 per square foot (Regent St £400!) a distribution shed is generally circa £10 psf. The very reasons shoppers like to visit shops (to see, try on or feel the goods) has to be paid for some how but customers, in the main do not want to pay for it. Customers want a good deal but the Internet has upset the balance.
Almost everything in the shops is made in China or the far East in conditions not allowed here. Do customers think about this when looking for the 10%? Not many.
The other major retail conundrum is that when shops in Victoria Road were a sustainable £20,000 rent the (coffee) chains turned up fighting each other to pay £30,000. They want saturation presence (fast) and the rent becomes secondary. Borders books in the Market Place is a classic, £500,000 rent! How many books must you sell to afford that? Business rates are linked to rents so they zoom up too. It is no surprise that all the modern chains that go bust do so on the rental quarter day when the crazy rent is due. La Senza has just announced it's likely demise is due to the problems with it's sister company rents.
The solution - communism! State control of rents. Force the Chinese government to set up trade unions. shut down the Internet! (It is ironic that the world's biggest 'workers union' is the new biggest capitalist).

I for one am fed up with items not available in the shops and being told "try the internet". Don't these shop assistants realise it will put them out of work. I do not shop on the internet and like to go in and see the goods but due to the business "just in time" stock system, less and less availability is in the shops as they do not want money tied up in stock. However, this causes the customer to look elsewhere or not purchase anything. I do believe councils should charge lower business rates, a shop paying something is better than nothing. Landlords should also offer premises with lower rents to save all these empty shops which brings down the tone of any high street which in turn will stop other owners opening a shop.

That is an interesting post. £500k for Borders is amazing, no wonder they have now gone bust!

I think that the solution is to try to move away from the UK obsession with property prices which just seems to make us uncompetitive. Someone with a mortgage on a £350k flat in Surbiton is never going to be able to compete with someone in India or China with nothing like that overhead.

It is the same for commercial property. Rents going up has almost been a badge of honour, showing the prosperity of the local area and country is a whole, but it is really only benefitting greedy landlords.

If the standard rent on a shop in Victoria Road is £20k, it is little wonder that hardly any retailers can afford to open here - it is just too high and should probably be less than half that!

I take the point about the coffee shops, but there are only so many of those. Surbiton now has all of the national chains, so I doubt any more will be moving in. Those landlords can count themselves lucky to get above market rents for those units, but there is no way that this can have any effect on the market rate going forward.

Surbiton is not like Kingston drawing people from miles around to shop. It is a relatively affluent small town that will support a limited number of shops, but the footfall is just not enough to justify £20k rents for most of the types of businesses that would do well here.

I guess the choice is with the landlords, reduce the market rates over time, or leave their units empty or filled with charity shops.

£20,000 rent is not close it is at least double this !!

Well, that is truly ridiculous then.

If a potential shopkeeper has to pay £40k rent, and then same again in rates/heat/light that is over £1.5k per week before actually buying any stock or employing any staff. We are probably talking about turnover of £10k a week required to maintain that.

That might be doable for a shop in Kingston, but for the type of gift shop/deli that is going to open in Surbiton, the footfall would just not be enough.

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