As retailers, to include gift independents, continue to struggle, Thomas Brerton, a retail analyst for data and analytics company GlobalData, says that outside of Brexit, the British Retail Consortium (BRC), and retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Next, are becoming increasingly vocal about the destructive impact of business rates on bricks and mortar retailers.
“But while Boris has called for cuts to business rates alongside corporation tax during his campaign, details of this potential move have not been provided, and we do not expect him to make the bold changes that the retailers require,” says Thomas.
He adds that the most pressing issue for retailers remains clarification on Brexit, both in terms of timing and the nature of the withdrawal. “But numerous retailers – particularly supermarkets – have expressed concerns over an October deadline, anxious about the potential increased pressure to supply chains and storage space coinciding with Halloween and preparation for the busy Christmas period. Boris’s appointment has seen the probability of a no-deal Brexit rise to around 25-30%, augmenting concerns over the supply of everything from toys to fresh food and pharmaceuticals. In response, he must now make swift progress in bringing a withdrawal agreement to the table to allay retailer’s concerns.”
The British Retail Consortium’s chief executive Helen Dickinson was equally forthcoming. “We hope the new Government will commit to a full review of the broken business rate system and will collaborate with the BRC on a strategy to bolster the retail industry during this time of rapid change.”
Top: Sorting out business rates must be a priority for the new PM say the retail analysts.