The owner of Boux Avenue has warned of a “perfect storm” facing retailers this year.
Theo Paphitis said his chain of stores has had to adjust its business plan to take into account “momentous” changes in shoppers’ buying habits and the fall in the pound.
He also accused the UK government of delivering a ‘sucker punch’ to the retail sector by failing to adequately reform business rates.
“I have never known a more dynamic time for retail,” he said. “The pace of change is more challenging and opportunistic than ever.
“Retail, especially within bricks and mortar in the UK, is facing the perfect storm. Changes in consumer habits, the impact of the weaker pound against the dollar and euro, coupled with increasing labour costs, the apprenticeship levy and the sucker punch in the lack of an honest and equitable reform of what is an archaic system of business rates,” Paphitis continued.
“With regard to the so-called recent business rates reform, retail has changed dramatically over the years but is faced with a tax that was introduced in a different world. The facts are that footfall and activity on our high streets and town centres are in decline but businesses like ours are about to see an overall increase instead of a decrease in their rates bill in the next 12 months.”
The retail mogul’s comments came as Boux Avenue announced its financial results for the Christmas trading period.
Like-for-like sales rose 16.6% in the six weeks to December 24, accelerating growth from 8.9% last year.