Adam Stewart

Member Article

Vince's action plan steps in the right direction

Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, has called for the restructure of the business rates regime when speaking at Retail Week Live.

Cable stated that the system needs to be reformed, but said that changes are unlikely to be announced as part of next week’s Budget.

He added that the system is outdated and the Government will look to restructure it through an inquiry into the state of retail.

Dr Cable added that, “the real story is the shift from front of shop retailing on high streets to e-commerce”, and outlined the Government’s plan to help UK retailers expand overseas, particularly for omnichannel sellers and luxury brands.

He also added that a popular case has been made to extend rates relief for small businesses.

Commenting on Dr Cables’ announcement, Adam Stewart, marketing director at Rakuten, said: “It’s disappointing to hear that business rates are unlikely to be discussed in next week’s budget but Vince Cable’s action plan is hopefully sign of a step in the right direction for small retailers.

“In the tough economic climate businesses need as much support as possible from the government and an inquiry into the state of retail is necessary in order to offer advice to small and independent retailers and to re-energise the retail industry.

The decision on business rates may mean that retailers find it harder than ever to expand or maintain their physical presence so this is a decision that retailers will await with bated breath.

“Cable stated the importance of the shift from high streets to ecommerce and it’s true that making the online and mobile channels core pillars of your business means that retailers can achieve scalable, cost-effective growth, minimising the effects of upcoming policy decisions on their physical offering.

“In fact, our own data shows that online shoppers are most active on a Monday evening, with the highest volume sales conversions and browsing figures from 8pm-10pm, while mobile browsing surges on Monday morning from 7am-8am.

“Being able to make sales ‘out-of-hours’ is vital and it’s difficult to imagine a retailer without an online channel in this connected world.

“However, there will always be a place for the high street and the government has a role to play in ensuring offline sales remain part of the overall shopping experience.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Rakuten .

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