Dave Lewis, the chief executive of Britain’s biggest supermarket Tesco, has said that increasing business rates has played a large part in the collapse of some retailers. He added that the biggest tax that Tesco has had to pay is business rates, adding up to more than £700 million per year.
Mr Lewis blamed ministers for ignoring the retail industry in the government’s industrial strategy, which was also criticised by Mike Coupe, the chief executive of rival supermarket Sainsbury’s. Mr Coupe says that fundamental reforms are needed against the business rates system, which he deems “archaic”, with concerns that the increase in business rates will cause closures of High Street stores. He urged the government to propose a wider range review of how businesses are taxed, highlighting the changes in the retail culture. Meanwhile, the chairman for Marks & Spencer Archie Norman has detailed the challenges which the retail industry faces within the company’s annual report.