Retail news round-up: Lidl’s US expansion plans, Dominic Chappell’s 'unpaid tax bills', and shop vacancy rates up for first time since 2012

Lidl plots US expansion in 2018

Lidl is now preparing to enter the US market in 2018, This is Money reported.

The German discounter is poised to open stores in the country from 2018, offering shoppers lower prices on groceries, household appliances, clothes and furniture.

Lidl has already broken ground on a US distribution facility and headquarters in Virginia, which will cost about $200m (£153.3m).

The chain has also staked out four possible store locations in the Richmond, Virginia area.

Dominic Chappell 'owes £500,000 in tax' on BHS profits

Former BHS owner Dominic Chappell owes more than £500,000 in tax on profits he made from owning the collapsed department store chain, The Guardian reported.

HMRC has initiated legal proceedings against him to recover the money.

However, Chappell has put the business that owes the tax, Swiss Rock Limited, into liquidation, meaning the owed tax could be written off.

Swiss Rock owes £365,000 in VAT and £196,306 in corporation tax, according to documents drawn up by Chappell and David Rubin & Partners, which has been appointed as liquidator.

Shop vacancy edges up as openings slow

The number of retail shops standing empty increased for the first time since 2012 as retailers scaled back their expansion plans in the first half of 2016, The Guardian reported.

Shop openings slumped 15% to 20,804, mainly due to pre-EU referendum jitters, according to the retail data firm Local Data Company’s biannual report monitoring vacancy rates on the UK high street.

The number of closures dropped 5% to 22,801, outstripping openings by 1,997 from January to the end of June.

The John Lewis Partnership is among the major names to have scaled back expansion, saying last week that it had abandoned plans to open seven new Waitrose supermarkets.

LDC director Matthew Hopkinson said: “Growth slackened significantly in the half year leading up to the referendum at the end of June, taking the steam out of the gentle improvement in vacancy. Since the end of June we have seen the vacancy rate in leisure outlets inch upwards.”