“Predatory” pricing by online retailers is a bigger problem to bricks-and-mortar retailers than business rates, Sir John Timpson has warned.
Speaking to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee following the publication of his report on the future of the high street, Timpson said pricing methods from online players negatively affected those operating on the high street.
Timpson said etailers had “far too much of an advantage” and warned that their “predatory” low prices were a “serious issue” that was negatively impacting the high street.
“They’re grabbing big slices of the market with what I call predatory pricing.
“Amazon’s been about for 24 years; if we go forward another 24 years, what’s the market going to be like then?
”I think we’ve got a really serious issue to tackle and I’m not aware of people taking enough of a serious interest about that.”
Timpson also suggested business rates should be scrapped with the additional tax instead being added to the rate of VAT.
“I think clearly the right thing for the government to do is level the playing field for bricks-and-mortar retailers and internet retailers,” Timpson said.
“There is far too much of an advantage on internet retailer shopping. I’m not too sure if it’s because they can’t find a way to do it.”
Timpson suggested increasing VAT could be a viable solution, adding: “In simple terms, I know it can’t, but that should be the direction of travel and therefore you get every retailer paying the same rate of tax.”