Trouva has today unveiled a strategic partnership with real estate advisers Harper Dennis Hobbs (HDH) to “tackle unfair business rates” for independent retailers.

Trouva, an online platform of more than 500 UK-based high street boutiques, approached HDH to work with its shop owners on “bespoke business rates investigation and appeal services”, which it said could lead to a reduction in business rates.

As part of the partnership, HDH has agreed to provide Trouva boutiques with the service on a no win, no fee basis.

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Mandeep Singh: ‘We’ve long been campaigning for a reduction in business rates’

The strategic partnership will also extend to “hands-on lease advisory services” for the more than 700 boutiques across the UK and Europe. This will include HDH assistance with rent reviews, lease renewals and negotiations – as well as sourcing and acquiring new stores.

These services will incur a fee, but Retail Week understands it would be at a discount for boutique’s on the online platform.

Trouva said the new partnership was a “recognition of the fact that the chancellor’s [£675m Future High Street Fund] is a good first step in terms of helping small retailers, but that there is more to be done to support small high street businesses through the provision of practical help on property and retail-related issues”.

Trouva co-founder and boss Mandeep Singh said: “There has never been more uncertainty around the future of our high streets, and at Trouva we’ve long been campaigning for a reduction in business rates so that independent shops don’t continually get punished by this archaic tax. Last April saw business rates rise yet again, meaning 1 million small businesses saw an unaffordable 3% increase in their rates.

“Independent stores don’t typically have the resource or budget to access tailored services from these real estate experts, so by offering this service by a trusted partner and in a convenient and cost-efficient manner, we hope our community will benefit greatly.”