The Government must tackle high business rates, which are stunting store growth at Moss Bros, said chief executive Brian Brick.
Brick told Retail Week that high business rates are the retailer’s biggest problem when trying to open new stores.
“Landlords are being very pragmatic when discussing rents but we’re still hamstrung [by business rates],” he said.
“In some cases business rates are more than rent.”
Mens formalwear retailer Moss Bros revealed in its full-year results today that 49% of its store estate will come up for renewal over the next 3 years and it will seek to improve terms where possible.
Brick said the retailer is aiming to open more stores due to the success of its click-and-collect and hire services among its customers, which makes up 20%of its online sales since its launch in January. But he said it is not always financially viable due to the high cost of business rates.
“There are a number of places we would like to trade in but we have to make sure the cost structure is correct,” he said. “Our problem is business rates. They can’t keep going up.”
Retail Week and the British Retail Consortium, backed by top retailers, have been campaigning to freeze business rates but the Government has ignored the calls.
Brick said the Chancellor’s decision not to act on easing business rates for retailers in the Budget on Wednesday, “didn’t help”.
He added that a freeze on business rates “would be a start” but said they need to look at the overall impact of business rates which he believes is causing some town centres socio-economic problems.
Moss Bros today posted rocketing pre-tax profit up 230% to £3m in the year to January 26.