Colliers CRE's Midsummer Retail Report says High Street and shopping centre landlords are doing heavily discounted deals with retailers rather than suffer the even more financially damaging prospect of empty premises.
Incentive packages of two or three years rent free and even longer are increasingly commonplace as landlords look to find tenants for empty shops, Colliers said.
North West retail rents are forecast in the report to fall by 13.1% in 2009 and by 7.6% in 2010 compared to UK falls of 14% this year and 9% in 2010.
In 2008/09, Zone A at the Trafford Centre and St Anne's-on-Sea in Lancashire remained static at £400/sq ft and £45/sq ft respectively but falls were recorded elsewhere throughout the North West. There were no increases in retail rents in the region because of the recession.
Nick McAllester, head of retail agency at the Manchester office of Colliers CRE, said: "This year the realisation that we are in a full blown recession has caused many landlords to see that the cost of leaving units vacant is more detrimental to their investment values than the negative impact of doing below market deals.