Primark owner calls for rates reform as coronavirus outbreak hits trade

John Bason

Primark parent company ABF’s finance director John Bason has urged the government to address business rates reform as the retail industry battles the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

This morning, ABF said it had shut Primark stores in continental Europe accounting for 20% of space and 30% of sales, and revealed that Primark had suffered a decline in like-for-likes in the UK over the last fortnight.

Government action to combat the infection in countries such as France, Italy and Spain has led to extensive shop closures other than food stores and pharmacies.

Asked whether he expected the UK to follow, Bason said he did not want to speculate. However, he hoped that the government would take action to address the longstanding burden of business rates, which have piled pressure on bricks-and-mortar retailers.

Subscription content

Please sign in now if you have a subscription or are already registered with us.

Retail Week

Register for free to continue reading provides premium, in-depth intelligence that helps retailers judge risks, spot opportunities and identify what they need to do to win in the digital economy.

Register today for a taste of our high-quality intelligence and enjoy:

  • Two free article views per calendar month on
  • Detailed analysis of current trends and events 
  • Exclusive newsletters
  • In-depth reports, videos, interviews and much more

Discover Retail Week register now

Please note, if you have recently purchased a subscription, it may take a few minutes before your account is updated.