Shop owners to give nod to Blacks deal

LANDLORDS are expected to today accept a proposal by embattled retailer Blacks Leisure that will allow it to exit leases on 89 stores in a bid to turn around its business.<br /><br />Landlords, both independent and the listed real estate companies like British Land and Land Securities , are said to be &ldquo;spitting blood&rdquo; that they have no other option but to vote for the company voluntary administration (CVA) on the table.<br /><br />They are furious that a trimmed down Blacks will get the chance to resuscitate its business from a chain of 315 stores while landlords and their shareholders pay the price.<br /><br />Landlords, some of whom will sign away leases of up to 12 years, have been offered six months rent and a compensation pot of &pound;7.25m to be shared among the 89 closed locations. The last of two pay outs won&rsquo;t be made until mid-2010.<br /><br />Under the plan, a further 291 stores will pay rent on a monthly instead of a quarterly basis for 18 months.<br /><br />Landlords have waved through similar CVAs to ensure a future for JJB and Focus DIY but are said to be losing patience.<br /><br />The Office of Fair Trading said this month it would look at the growing use of CVAs and the British Property Federation has called for urgent reform.<br /><br />BPF chief executive Liz Peace said: &ldquo;Landlords will do what they can to work with their tenants but there comes a point where people will demand controls and a certain level of fairness.&rdquo;