EconomyHigh StreetSupermarkets

Tesco CEO blames business rates for decline of the high street

Dave Lewis the CEO of Tesco has said that business rates have played a “large part” in the decline of many high street retailers.

Lewis questioned whether the rise of business rates created an “uneven playing field” for some retailers. Last year’s restructure of business rates saw rises for some companies and a fall for others.

In order to keep above water, Lewis said companies would need a business model that is positioned “between an online digital world and a traditional retail store base model like the one we have”.

Lewis asked while speaking on TV: “Are we allowing it to stay competitive, or are we by stealth lowering corporation tax and increasing business rates to a place which is creating an uneven playing field and forcing people to think about how it is they avoid that cost and find other routes to the market?”

The Tesco CEO is not the first supermarket boss to call for changes, Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe told the BBC last year that he felt “fundamental reform” was needed as he called the system “archaic”.

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