John Lewis slams stamp duty rise as damaging to the whole sector

Department store chain John Lewis has spoken out against the changes to stamp duty rules that will be cost the retail sector more than£200 million a year.

Under the change - which comes into effect on December 1 - retailers will have to pay stamp duty based on the net value of rent payable over the length of the lease, rather than on average annual rent.

A spokeswoman for John Lewis said: 'A vibrant retail sector makes a great contribution to the economy, and therefore the issue of increased stamp duty on commercial leases is of concern to John Lewis because it affects us and the retail sector as a whole.'

The British Retail Consortium warned that some smaller retailers may be forced to close because of the changes.

The BRC, which estimates that the extra cost for UK retailers will be more than£200 million, said that most retailers will now have to rethink any plans for expansion.