Business rates key factor in House of Fraser CVA

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House of Fraser’s London estate was severely affected by business rates rises, laying bare the problems facing the department store.

According to data given to City AM real estate advisory firm Altus Group, House of Fraser’s store in Westfield saw its rateable value, a figure used to calculate how much it pays in business rates tax, more than double to £2.37 million.

This represents a rise of more than £1 million in yearly taxes.

Furthermore, its Oxford Street flagship saw its rateable value jump from £5.73 million to £9 million.

This means the retailer is set to pay £18.57 million during the current business rates cycle.

This includes a £4.62 million bill this year, jumping £1.66 million on a year before.

It comes just days after the retailer confirmed plans to enter a CVA in June, which will see it reduce its store numbers and seek to reduce rents on others.

Business rates rises have been a key element in driving financial distress on the high street in recent months and shows no signs of letting up, with a further 55,467 businesses thought to have seen another rise last month.

In April, The Entertainer chief executive Gary Grant called on the government to take some responsibility for the spike in retail insolvencies.

He said business rates were now “out of line with retail turnover” and remained the “real killer”.

“Landlords are being very realistic about their rent, but the one thing that is not negotiable are business rates,” Grant added.

“(The retail sector) is seeing many stores empty for long periods of time and the biggest issue is that (retailers) can’t open stores.

“The government just haven’t got it. They need to take some responsibility for the high street’s decline.”

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