People are cutting their trips to the shops, putting 200,000 retail trade jobs in danger, it was claimed yesterday. Retailers said they had suffered a fall of up to 50 per cent in business, despite price cuts. They warned that some faced bankruptcy within months if landlords refused to allow an immediate 40 per cent cut in rents. The Retail Management Association said rents accounted for up to 30 per cent of a shop's operating costs. The association wants profits tax concessions to help shops stay in business and prevent lay-offs. It represents the interests of more than 5,000 shops which employ more than 100,000 workers - half of those in the sector. Fashion shops and restaurants were among the worst hit. Association chairman Philip Ma King-huen yesterday warned that more medium-sized and small shops could be forced to close after Lunar New Year. He said the sector was in its worst period for two decades. 'People just do not come to buy things. There is a current saying among retailers that if you fired a cannonball in Nathan Road, you would not hurt anyone,' he said. Mr Ma added that turnover had dropped by up to half despite price cuts. About 10 new shopping malls are expected to be completed this year, offering more than a million square feet of additional shopping space. Chairman of the G2000 group Michael Tien Puk-sun said: 'If the developers refuse to cut rents, I cannot see a good prospect for those shopping malls.'