Frasers Group threatens to review entire portfolio after business rates temper tantrum

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Frasers Group PLC (LON:FRAS) has got the hump with the Chancellor of the Exchequer over the level of business rates relief announced in the Budget.

The retailer said the £2mln rates cap on businesses from July 2021 to March 2022 “makes it a near-worthless support package for large retailers”.

The company, formerly known as Sports Direct (or in journalistic circles “Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct”), said the Chancellor’s parsimony “will make it nearly impossible to take on ex-Debenhams sites with the inherent jobs created”.

We’ll continue with the 100% business rates holiday through to the end of June.

For the remaining nine months of the year, business rates will still be discounted by two thirds, up to a value of £2m for closed businesses.

A £6bn tax cut for business. #Budget2021 pic.twitter.com/LFGb3qwP6U

— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) March 3, 2021

The retailer suggested it would need to review its entire portfolio to determine stores that are unviable due to what the retailer regards as unrealistic business rates.

“Frasers Group believes that retailers should pay the fair amount of rates in line with realistic rateable values, but instead we continue to have an unwieldy, overly complex, and out of date business rates regime,” the statement concluded.

Bricks and mortar retailers have long complained aout the absence of a level playing field in their continued fight to prevent online retailers from eating their lunch.

Some observers have claimed that retailers are paying rates on shops valued at vastly inflated levels, given the implosion of the UK High Street and the drift away from edge of town shopping centres.

???????? Shopping for ways to ease retailers’ £25bn business rates burden https://t.co/P9SFl020xK

— Neil Saunders (@NeilRetail) March 5, 2021

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