The Retail Sector Council (RSC) has launched a new survey investigating costs burdening the industry such as business rates.
The findings from the survey, which is being co-ordinated by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), will be used to identify recommendations for the RSC and Government on how to enhance the retail sector’s efficiency and competitiveness.
A spokesman for the BRC said the survey will assess costs, which are often tax and regulation related, “which undermine retailers’ ability to become more efficient” and could potentially “include proposals for reforming business rates”.
The BRC spokesman said that the survey was being launched because “the UK’s tax system is skewed towards people and property – which is contributing to store closures and job losses and stalling the successful reinvention of high streets”.
The RSC, which was launched in March 2018, is co-chaired by BRC chair Richard Pennycook and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) minister for small business, consumers and corporate responsibility Kelly Tolhurst.
It is a governmental advisory group which seeks to “inform and challenge both the industry and Government on key issues the industry faces” and features senior representatives from retailers including Boots, Asos, John Lewis and Amazon.
The survey will be distributed to all BRC members today but will also be open to non-BRC members and smaller businesses through other trade organisations and Local Enterprise Partnerships.
The BRC’s Pennycook said: “We have cast the net wide looking across all of business costs in order to gain a much better understanding of the breadth of pressures on the industry. We of course expect business rates to emerge as one of the major causes for concern, but there are other friction costs to doing business that we want to analyse as well.
”Having a quality evidence base will inform our recommendations and therefore I would encourage as many retailers as possible to participate.”
A BRC spokesman said the survey will close in three weeks and will be used “as an evidence base for the RSC report to Government”, which is due to be published in June or July this year.