The bosses of Sainsbury’s, Frasers Group and Shoe Zone have piled further pressure on new Chancellor Rishi Sunak to reform the business rates system.

The retailers have warned the Government that “there won’t be a high street at all” unless they launch a fundamental review of how the tax is calculated.

Speaking in The Times, Shoe Zone boss Anthony Smith has said his business could be forced to shut 100 stores unless urgent changes are made, cranking up the heat on Sunak.

The new Chancellor was only promoted into the role last week to replace Sajid Javid, but has instantly come under the spotlight with the Budget due to be delivered in March.

Retailers hope that Sunak could be the man to finally deliver change, given that he is well-versed in business rates – he was involved in a Treasury committee inquiry on the subject last year.

However, Sunak was also a supporter of a move to cut business rates for small companies, which was widely criticised for the lack of impact it had on high streets across the UK.

With the Budget less than a month away, retailers are ramping up calls for a much more fundamental reform.

Shoe Zone’s Smith said the government’s rating system was in “total turmoil” and that closing a fifth of the retailer’s store estate could be the only option to remain profitable on the high street.

Smith said that transitional relief meant that the shops it operates in struggling towns in the north of England were being denied business rates reductions, while increases to bills for retailers in London and the south were being limited.

Chris Wootton, finance boss at Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, warned there could be an “apocalypse on the high street” unless the Government takes action.

“Politicians need to do something now – not next month, not next year, right now,” he said.

“Twiddling their fingers, picking their noses, burying their heads in the sand or plain ignoring the truth staring them in the face is not acceptable, and if it continues there won’t be a high street at all.”

Sainsbury’s outgoing chief executive Mike Coupe said the property tax was “completely out of step with the way the industry and customer shopping patterns have changed”.

He added: “Bricks-and-mortar retailers, which are the lifeblood of many communities, are unfairly penalised as they pay far more than online operators.”

Sunak is due to deliver the Budget on March 11, but the Tories’ transport secretary Grant Schapps admitted that date could be pushed back to give him “more time” to review the Government’s plans.