West End retailers could face up to £50,000 rates rises

In addition to challenging trading conditions, unfavourable weather and other pressures, retailers in the West End of London will be hit by a massive business rates bill hike this year, when the second increase following last year’s revaluation comes into force.

Regent Street

According to estimates from Altus Group, West End retailers will see their business rates bills rise by around £50,000, with large shops facing on average increases of £52,381. More than 1,000 businesses will experience rises of more than the 3% inflation rate.

The news comes shortly after a report by Local Data Company and PwC revealed that high street openings have reached their lowest level in seven years, as retailers continue to battle against the rise of e-commerce and squeezed consumer spending.

Peter Rogers, chairman of the New West End Company, which represents West End businesses, told City AM: “Business rates are unfair, unreflective of commercial realism and ineffective as a way of paying for much needed local services.

“As we move into a post-Brexit period we need to look radically at how we tax businesses locally so that they are encouraged to grow, compete fairly and provide the funding that local authorities desperately need”.

Several well-known British clothing retailers are exploring ways to reduce their store counts, including New Look, Mothercare and Debenhams. Many of the UK’s largest brands have large flagship stores in the West End, which includes Oxford Circus, New Bond Street and Regent Street.

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