The essential news source for the home improvement industry DIY WEEK AWARDS

10 MARCH 2017 Full coverage of the industry’s top awards


GLOBAL SUMMIT Book your place at this summer’s unmissable event p7

TOTALLY REVIEW The industry’s thoughts on this year’s Totally show


GCA CONFERENCE Big news and big winners at the garden industry’s essential get- together


Budget 2017: £435m for firms affected by business rates increase

The 2017 Spring Budget was announced this week, with Chancellor Philip Hammond outlining measures including £435m set aside for firms affected by increases in business rates. There will also be a £300m

hardship fund for small businesses worst affected by the rates, which are set to change from April 1, in a move that has shaken the retail industry. Furthermore, any small business losing existing relief will have a £50 cap on increases. The Budget also outlined a tax avoidance clampdown to the tune of £820m, which will include action to stop

businesses converting capital losses into trading losses, as well as tackling abuse of foreign pension schemes. Mr Hammond said there would be a consultation on the best means to tax online businesses ahead of the next business rates revaluation. A further rise in the National Living Wage, to £7.50, was also announced; this will be effective from April.

The British Retail Consortium

reacted strongly to the Budget as it was announced, tweeting that it was “disappointing that a fundamental business rates overhaul won’t be decided until [the] next revaluation.” The

group also called the £435m relief fund “inadequate given the total annual rates bill for the retail industry is currently £7billion.” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson added: “We hope that the relief measures will help some of those businesses hardest hit by the revaluation, albeit only temporarily. However, more short-term relief measures continue to add complexity to an already impenetrable system. £435m is a drop in the ocean compared with the £25bn a year that the tax raises.”

Also announced in the Budget was a rise in National Insurance tax for self-employed people, a

TP’s consumer division drives growth

Travis Perkin’s latest annual results reveal a strong year for its consumer division – which includes Wickes, Toolstation, and Tile Giant – with a 6.5% like-for-like growth in revenue. Total sales in the consumer division were up 9.5% for the year ended December 31, 2016, with an operating profit increase of 6.4% to £101m for the trading period.

The continued roll-out of the

new Wickes store format helped boost figures, with 46 new outlets featuring improved kitchen and bathroom displays and design centre opening during the year. The total number of these new- format stores now stands at 62, with a programme of further openings set for the coming year. Online was also a key driver for the division, with Wickes posting over £100m in internet

sales in 2016, buoyed by continued development of its online proposition and enhancements to its delivery and click & Collect services. The Toolstation network also continued to expand in 2016, with a further 36 stores opening in the UK, and seven shops in the Netherlands. Online-only ranges were introduced for the first time, with over 1,000 products available to customers.

move which was criticized for “punishing those taking a chance with their own businesses.” Wilkins Kennedy partner and head of retail and wholesale Phil Mullis commented: “Business rates have been a sore point for a long time. The Chancellor has admitted that there is no appetite to abolish business rates, particularly when they make around £25bn for the Treasury every year. However, the Chancellor did say there is scope to review the revaluation process and consult on this before the next revaluation is due. Then again, saying is one thing, doing is another.

“The Chancellor has introduced a £1,000 relief to the pub trade, for those with a rateable value of £100,000 or less. Whilst the relief will be most welcome, it depends how much they have been increased in the first place to warrant the relief to be beneficial. There is still a long way to go. “It was disappointing to see that

there was absolutely no reference to how the government plans to bring business rates in line with the discrepancy between those charged to bricks and mortar retailers and those to online. This is a major area in need of addressing, but first, there needs to be an urgent overhaul throughout.”

The continued roll out of Wickes’ new format stores boosted sales

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28