Landlords of beleaguered high street retailers JJB Sports and Optical Express, whose stores are set to shut, face losing up to £65m from unpaid rent, service charges and a tax on empty property, new research reveals.
The Times-commissioned research from Jones Lang LaSalle, says the landlords of the 177 JJB stores being disposed of by administrator, KPMG, could lose a total of £37.5m in rent and £5m a year in unpaid service charges.
In addition to lost rental income and costs associated with finding a new tenant, landlords of the empty JJB stores will also have to pay about £17m in rates.
The final whistle was blown on JJB Sports with the majority of its stores around the UK set to close, and putting 2,200 jobs at risk, last week.
The closure of 133 stores was announced after KPMG, the administrators of the three companies that form the high-street retailer, agreed a deal with Sports Direct International to take ownership of the brand, website and 20 JJB sites, safeguarding the jobs of at least 550 staff.
Despite the financial troubles the sports clothes retailer was struggling with, KPMG initially reviewed eight first round bids but none materialised into an offer sufficient to rescue the majority of the JJB Sports businesses. Of the staff at the locations to be wound down, 167 will stay on to assist administrators.
Meanwhile, Optical Express announced it will shut around 40 stores across the country following the appointment of PKF as administrator to one of its subsidiary companies.
The optician group, which has 170 shops in its portfolio, said it was 'consolidating' its stores to 'focus resources on its flagship locations and online business'. All its eye surgery clinics will remain open.
The company said that employees of the stores earmarked for closure will be redeployed at other locations within the group.