Business rates relief extension “near worthless”, Frasers Group says

Mike Ashley Frasers Group business rates relief
Frasers Group said the £2m rates cap on businesses from July 2021 to March 2022 to help hard-hit retailers through Covid-19 "makes it a near worthless support package for large retailers"
// Frasers Group calls business rates relief extension a “near worthless” package
// The group – which owns Sports Direct – said the measure would prevent it from buying former Debenhams stores
// The measure would also force a review of its own estate

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has called the extension to business rates relief a “near worthless” package that would refrain it from purchasing former Debenhams stores and force a review of its own estate.

The retail group said the £2 million rates cap on businesses from July 2021 to March 2022 to help hard-hit retailers through the Covid-19 crisis “makes it a near worthless support package for large retailers”.

The measure was unveiled alongside other initiatives in Wednesday’s Budget by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.


“For Frasers Group this cap will make it nearly impossible to take on ex-Debenhams sites with the inherent jobs created,” Frasers Group said.

“It will also mean we need to review our entire portfolio to ascertain stores that are unviable due to unrealistic business rates.”

The company said many retailers would have expected suitable relief “until structural reform is implemented”, adding that firms “should pay the fair amount of rates in line with realistic rateable values”.

In January, Boohoo Group bought the Debenhams brand and website for £55 million.

Sunak extended a business rates exemption for hospitality businesses including restaurants and pubs have been hit hard by the pandemic.

The extension will be followed by a further six-month period where rates will be discounted to one third of the normal charge, up to a maximum of £2 million for closed businesses.

Tax and spending elements of Sunak’s plans were severely criticised on Thursday by the influential Institute for Fiscal Studies as undeliverable.

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  1. I agree Business Rates need reforming but I think H of F is not a successful store and reminds me of House of Sports Direct. It’s missing many of the concessions that existed in H of F pre Admin such as Chanel and Jigsaw.

    Mr Ashcroft assumes that without him there are no takers for Debenhams empty stores but 15 -17 appear to be opening in a raft of department stores and although there were teething problems it seems Canterbury’s Debenhams ( main building) is now to be given to them as a four floor store showcasing national and individual brands and experiences and it will trade well there. It beats 74 apartments and 11 or 12 smaller stores that would have been in that location. Crew Clothing are also to return to Canterbury in the former Jigsaw store.

    The department store is not dead yet. I do think M and S , Next and may be JL may move in to other Debenhams stores for smaller mixed use developments or where cheaper than their current prime location. Very good news for retail jobs in Canterbury if it’s true.


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