Turbulent economic times mean that two categories of retailers are emerging. There are those that are taking up vacant retail space at greatly reduced rates and those that are in the course of a disposal programme or are otherwise looking at reducing their property costs, whether by sub-letting, rent reductions or lease restructurings.

Of course, while the stronger players are hungry for space, there is only a finite amount of demand and even with overseas retailers moving in, the number of empty retail units is increasing.

For some retailers the only way forward is an administration or a company voluntary arrangement.

Our retail real estate lawyers advise on the full range of property-based transactions, including property developments and investments, acquisitions and disposals, joint ventures, lease negotiations, rent reviews, property portfolio management, commercial agreements and the roll out of retail and branded concepts.

When acting for landlords we recognise the need to manage estates efficiently, whilst allowing tenants the freedom to run their own operations. We advise on the health and safety, estate management and commercial issues, an understanding of which is vital in order to maintain the effectiveness of the businesses run from our clients' properties.

We also have a dedicated property litigation team that can advise on all aspects of disputes, but with a particular expertise in rent reviews, service charge disputes, break clauses and dilapidations.

Our specialist property tax lawyers can also advise you on structures, VAT and stamp duty land tax, the taxation of financial instruments and financial services, joint ventures and corporate restructurings including structuring transactions to mitigate or eliminated SDLT.

Notable deals / highlights

  • Advised a retailer on the property aspects of a major UK expansion strategy including retail premises in London, Derby, Liverpool and Manchester.

  • Advised a consortium of retailers on a substantial service charge negotiation / dispute in a major shopping centre.

  • Advised a retailer on the purchase of 10 department stores from administrators.

  • Advised a fashion retailer on property matters for its offices and stores in key London high street locations.

  • Advised a sports retailer on a complex rent review.

  • Advised a retailer on numerous developments including the sale and leaseback of its stores, on lease agreements for several town centre redevelopments including a 160,000 square feet town centre redevelopment, with complex negotiations relating to timing and delivery of development.

  • Advised a retailer on the lease for its anchor store in one of the largest retail developments in northern Europe and various other anchor store schemes and proposed major redevelopments.