Retailers are likely to be hit hardest by spiralling property prices, as business rates on the high street are expected to soar 13.3 per cent in the next three years.

Overall business rates are likely to rise by 12.4 per cent, according to research by property consultants GL Hearn. Business rates are based on the rateable value of a property, they will be reassessed in 2010. However, online retailers are in luck, as rates are forecast to slide 1.5 per cent for distribution centres.

This rise in rates will be an additional burden at a time when retailers are also suffering from faltering sales growth, increased wage inflation and the effects of the credit crunch.

GL Hearn director Blake Penfold said: “There will be both winners and losers when the next revaluation takes place. Our research suggests that the retail sector looks set to be one of the worst hit and it’s important retailers start to budget and prepare for the increases. Forewarned is forearmed and we can help retailers ensure they don’t suffer a nasty shock come 2010.”

In 2005/2006,£19.9 billion was collected in business rates, representing 4.35 per cent of the total tax income generated by the government.