INDUSTRY NEWS

Retailers call for lower business property costs

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has called upon the government to help retailers manage the current economic climate by reducing business property costs.

According to the organisation, chancellor Alistair Darling ought to focus on six key areas to improve the economic situation and boost consumer confidence.

The first of these strategies is the reduction of commercial property costs, through measures including the limitation of Business Rates Supplements and the re-introduction of empty property relief.

In addition, the BRC has called for a review of current leasing law which requires tenants with a commercial lease to pay early exit fees without tax relief.

"Retailers are being hit by a double-whammy of a deepening economic slowdown and a range of higher property costs," said BRC director general Stephen Robertson.

The other six strategies proposed by the BRC are based upon active employment encouragement, greater business efficiency, a reduction of household bills, housing assistance and cutting the cost of clothing children.

High street sales volume grew 0.8 per cent in July, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics, although the BRC said the statistics "paint a more positive picture than most retailers would recognise".ADNFCR-1329-ID-18743805-ADNFCR

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