Business rate reform can save the high street, says Bidwells

In light of this week’s result from various retailers showing poor physical store trading conditions over the Christmas period, please find below comment from Bidwells, a leading property advisory service that is advocating reform of business rates to help retailers in the current trading climate.

According to Bidwells research, retail rents declined by 9.1% and 9.2% respectively in Cambridge and Oxford in the year to June 2018, while declines in property values were in the double digits.

James Lankfer, Head of Retail and Leisure at Bidwells, said:

“If we are really serious about saving retail we need to take a long hard look at business rates and make them fit for the 21st century.

“This means updating them more regularly to reflect physical conditions, but perhaps more radically, as all the increases in online sales are showing, we need to look at taxing income, not physical location, because its that that reflects the trading conditions of retailers.

“This would help those struggling on the high street and put them on a more level footing with online giants that currently don’t have to pay even slightly comparable levels of tax.”

Bidwell’s retail team and specialists offers end to end consultancy on the retail offering – from planning to store management on to distribution and last mile delivery.

Despite specialising in the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Cambridge, Oxford and London, it acts for brands across the country, including supermarkets Waitrose and Tesco; high street chains such as H&M, Costa and Leon and hotels including Holiday Inn Express, Premier Inn and Accor.