'Landlords not always to blame' for empty shops says business leader

'Landlords not always to blame' for empty shops says business leader

'Landlords not always to blame' for empty shops says business leader

First published in News by , Reporter

LANDLORDS cannot be held solely responsible for the changing face of Marlow’s retail sector, according to the head of a leading business group in the town.

Tim Graham, chairman of Marlow’s Chamber of Commerce, said he understands the position of landlords such as Sorbon Estates, part of the Shanly Group, whose actions are driven by market forces.

Mr Graham was responding to criticism of the major commercial retail player after it announced a cost-price pop-up shop scheme to boost trade on Marlow’s ailing Spittal Street.

Free Press readers slammed the move as ‘hypocritical’ and claimed the firm were partly responsible for the downturn in the first place.

And the Marlow-based solicitor has welcomed the introduction of the which he says may be good for business in the long term.

He said: "You can’t wholly blame the landlords, whoever they may be, if they are advised by commercial agents that they can get a certain amount, why would they go out of their way to help people? Unfortunately it’s a commercial decision.

"Most business people are optimistic and if they think they can keep the payments up, they will take the leases on. But often the plan doesn’t work and they get in trouble.

"As far as pop-up shops go, I think it is a good idea. Anything which can increase occupancy must be a good thing. It is exciting for Marlow to have new businesses, and will attract more visitors and ultimately more business."

However, Mr Graham said he does worry about the rapid turnover of shops in the town centre.

And he questioned whether any landlord can make judgements on the best retail mix for the town based on an ever-changing roster of shops and businesses.

Comments (3)

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9:05am Sun 8 Jun 14

s6blr says...

Rubbish -- absolute poppycock Mr. Graham...!

When a large variety of shops, catering to a wide swath of economic tastes all go away, that points DIRECTLY at the developer and NOT at the shop keepers.

Perhaps if Mr. Shanly set a lower rent he would actually have FULL spaces, instead of EMPTY ones.

Oh well Mr. Graham, where is your bread buttered....?
Rubbish -- absolute poppycock Mr. Graham...! When a large variety of shops, catering to a wide swath of economic tastes all go away, that points DIRECTLY at the developer and NOT at the shop keepers. Perhaps if Mr. Shanly set a lower rent he would actually have FULL spaces, instead of EMPTY ones. Oh well Mr. Graham, where is your bread buttered....? s6blr
  • Score: 2

12:25am Mon 9 Jun 14

H22222 says...

" . . .whose actions are driven by market forces. . . . " Surely, a if not THE key market force is supply and demand, demand high & supply low = High price. Yet the landlords seem to be neglecting this as we have empty premises and rising rents!

". . . "You can’t wholly blame the landlords, whoever they may be, if they are advised by commercial agents that they can get a certain amount, why would they go out of their way to help people? Unfortunately it’s a commercial decision.. . . ." I disagree you can blame the landlords for choosing to use a commercial agent that is no doubt commission based and is over pricing the potential opportunity.

Why does Mr Graham not do what he said he would do in October 2013 "..."We don't want it to look like just any other town," said Tim who has plans including working with both landlords and tenants to tackle the increasing problems of rising rents...." (http://www.maidenhe
ad-advertiser.co.uk/
News/Areas/Marlow-Bo
urne-End-Flackwell/M
arlows-new-Chamber-o
f-Commerce-president
-says-keep-towns-cha
racter-31102013.htm)
" . . .whose actions are driven by market forces. . . . " Surely, a if not THE key market force is supply and demand, demand high & supply low = High price. Yet the landlords seem to be neglecting this as we have empty premises and rising rents! ". . . "You can’t wholly blame the landlords, whoever they may be, if they are advised by commercial agents that they can get a certain amount, why would they go out of their way to help people? Unfortunately it’s a commercial decision.. . . ." I disagree you can blame the landlords for choosing to use a commercial agent that is no doubt commission based and is over pricing the potential opportunity. Why does Mr Graham not do what he said he would do in October 2013 "..."We don't want it to look like just any other town," said Tim who has plans including working with both landlords and tenants to tackle the increasing problems of rising rents...." (http://www.maidenhe ad-advertiser.co.uk/ News/Areas/Marlow-Bo urne-End-Flackwell/M arlows-new-Chamber-o f-Commerce-president -says-keep-towns-cha racter-31102013.htm) H22222
  • Score: 0

10:18am Wed 11 Jun 14

RG2014 says...

The tone of Mr Graham's apologia suggests he acts for Sorbon either directly of indirectly in his professional capacity.

Speaking as a landlord myself, though not in Marlow, Mr Graham writes as if the landlord has no option but to ask for the highest rent he thinks he can possibly obtain.

That is absolute nonsense, for at the end of the day, it is the landlord's choice.

Equally, while the landlord may not know the best retail mix for a town, he can certainly influence it for the general benefit as opposed to his own (short term) wallet - and in this instance, Shanley (Sorbon) is a locally based landlord, so no excuse either about not knowing the area.

As I have written previously, De Walden Estates in Marylebone are very conscious of their social responsibilities and give more favourable terms to independent traders. As a result, that whole area is vibrant with a wide variety of shops and trades.

Perhaps Shanley (Sorbon) could learn from that, especially as he is a dominant landlord in Marlow and thus might well strongly influence general rental levels and lease terms
The tone of Mr Graham's apologia suggests he acts for Sorbon either directly of indirectly in his professional capacity. Speaking as a landlord myself, though not in Marlow, Mr Graham writes as if the landlord has no option but to ask for the highest rent he thinks he can possibly obtain. That is absolute nonsense, for at the end of the day, it is the landlord's choice. Equally, while the landlord may not know the best retail mix for a town, he can certainly influence it for the general benefit as opposed to his own (short term) wallet - and in this instance, Shanley (Sorbon) is a locally based landlord, so no excuse either about not knowing the area. As I have written previously, De Walden Estates in Marylebone are very conscious of their social responsibilities and give more favourable terms to independent traders. As a result, that whole area is vibrant with a wide variety of shops and trades. Perhaps Shanley (Sorbon) could learn from that, especially as he is a dominant landlord in Marlow and thus might well strongly influence general rental levels and lease terms RG2014
  • Score: 0

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