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Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group slams latest business rates relief, calling some of the support “near worthless”

Joanna Bourke
·1-min read
<p>Frasers Group is behind chains such as Sports Direct</p> (AFP via Getty Images)

Frasers Group is behind chains such as Sports Direct

(AFP via Getty Images)

Retail tycoon Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has voiced its “disappointment” at the business rates relief announced in the Budget, and warned it will have to review its store portfolio.

The company, which is led by Ashley and is behind chains such as Sports Direct, Evans Cycles and Jack Wills, said:“Whilst the retail industry as a whole has repeatedly asked for structural reform of business rates, none has been forthcoming. Frasers Group and many retailers would have expected suitable relief until structural reform is implemented.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak this week said the business rates holiday, due to finish at the end of this month, would be extended to June 30.

This will be followed by 66% business rates relief for the period from July to March 2022, capped at £2 million per business for properties that were required to be closed on January 5 for the national lockdown.

FTSE 250 company Frasers said the £2 million rates cap “makes it a near worthless support package for large retailers”.

It added that the cap will make it nearly impossible to take on ex-Debenhams sites which the company has been eyeing.

Frasers said it will also mean it needs to review its entire portfolio “to ascertain stores that are unviable due to unrealistic business rates”.

Frasers Group said it “believes that retailers should pay the fair amount of rates in line with realistic rateable values, but instead we continue to have an unwieldy, overly complex, and out of date business rates regime”.

More to follow...

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