Boss of Debenhams urges aid for high street
The chief executive of Debenhams has urged the Chancellor to help ease the burden on retailers in today's Budget, as the department store chain delivered a rise in first-half sales.
Despite the uptick in recent sales from its well-received spring clothing offer, Michael Sharp, right, said he had "not seen any change to the economic situation or consumer confidence".
He said George Osborne should change the way business rates are calculated, simplify the planning system, help young people back to work and stick to the Government's commitment to cut red tape.
Arguably, the biggest challenge facing retailers is the 5.6 per cent hike in business rates to be introduced next month, calculated on the retail price index hitting a 20-year high in September. RPI fell to 3.7 per cent in February. Mr Sharp believes it would be "fairer" if business rates took into account "broader inflationary pressure as opposed to a moment in time".
Debenhams, which has 170 stores, grew its total sales by 1.4 per cent for the 26 weeks to 3 March. The group delivered a 2.4 per cent rise in underlying sales over the last eight weeks of the period, up on a 1.4 per cent rise in like-for-like sales over the half year.
- 1 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway in dense fog
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway in dense fog
George Clooney and Amal fail to get special treatment at New York restaurant
Cindy Crawford 'un-PhotoShopped' viral Marie Claire image was doctored, photographer claims
'A girl is more responsible for rape than a boy': The statement that shocked the world... except India
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...
£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...