High Street

Fraser Group warns of closures amid business rates valuation delay

Mike Ashley’s Fraser Group has warned that a number of its stores could shutter as a result of the Government’s move to delay the next business rates valuation until 2023.

It said occupiers of the high street, including Frasers Group fascias, are still paying business rates based upon values from 2015, and that the Government has now decided that occupiers should “continue to do so for an extra two years”.

Frasers Group said it will “again have to carefully review the viability of a number of stores within its portfolio”.

The group noted in both its half year results announced on 16 December 2019 and in subsequent correspondence to the Prime Minister, that there are House of Fraser stores paying no rent but still losing money.

It stressed that a business rates correction could dramatically change the situation in terms of saving stores.

Fraser Group said: “How many more businesses on the High Street have to disappear and jobs be lost before the Government takes this issue seriously?

“How does the Government reconcile its maintenance of a punitive and outdated business rates regime, with its predictable and devastating effect on the viability of bricks-and-mortar businesses, with its recent policy/stimulus decisions seeking to have customers return to our high streets?”

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