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Trouva to help tackle "unfair business rates" for independents

Lauretta Roberts
14 March 2019

Trouva, the online marketplace for independent boutiques, has partnered with retail real estate advisers Harper Dennis Hobbs, to help tackle "unfair business rates" for its community of more than 500 stores.

The partnership offers a full suite of market-leading property services to Trouva’s network. As part of this threefold real-estate package, Trouva’s UK shop owners can access bespoke business rates investigation and appeal services which could lead to a reduction in business rates – provided on a "no win, no fee" basis.

In addition the partnership provides Trouva’s shops across the UK and Europe with lease advisory services to assist with rent reviews, lease renewals and negotiations, as well as enabling them to take advantage of HDH’s expert advice in sourcing and acquiring new stores.

The news of the partnership comes in the wake of the introduction of the Government's Future High Street Fund that opened on Boxing Day 2018, which amounted to £675m in funding from Chancellor Philip Hammond’s budget dedicated to reinvigorating Britain’s high streets.

Co-founder and CEO of Trouva Mandeep Singh said that more could be done to support independents and that the business had long been campaign for a reduction in business rates, which he described as an "archaic tax" that continually punished small retailers.

"Last April saw business rates rise yet again, meaning 1 million small businesses saw an unaffordable 3% increase in their rates. Although independents are starting to get help of sorts from the government via the Future High Street Fund, as a global platform for independent shopping, we see it as our responsibility to also make a practical difference to our community of boutiques which makes HDH a natural choice for our next strategic partnership," Singh said.

"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,” he added.

HDH executive director David Purslow said: “The high street has gone through considerable pain over the past 12 months with CVAs and retail failures proliferating. Against this backdrop, business rates in London have seen double digit growth, and this coalescing of falling demand and rising costs has hit independent retailers hard. This is a major cost for a small independent retailer to cope with, sometimes working out as a 50 per cent increase on top of rent."

"There is currently temporary relief for small businesses which will help them, but this will still have a big impact on margins. HDH’s partnership with Trouva will provide a much-needed boost to these independent retailers. It is a seminal collaboration that is our way of helping to reinvigorate London’s high streets. At Harper Dennis Hobbs we have a strong track record of working with independent retailers, and this experience, coupled with the exciting Trouva platform, will be a breath of fresh air for the high street.”

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