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BRC calls for cost reductions for retailers

The British Retail Consortium is calling on the chancellor to reduce mounting costs to retailers, following the threat of a worsening economic climate this year.

The BRC is calling for chancellor Alistair Darling to support retailers in becoming more environmentally friendly and to reduce retailers' business rates as well as halting any supplementary rates.

The BRC said that consumer spending had been a driving force for the economy over the last decade but warned that retailers were now being squeezed by a range of rising costs. The BRC said that while some of these costs, such as fuel and world commodity prices are largely outside government control, the chancellor does have the power to remove a number of key cost threats on Budget day next month.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: "With a slowdown underway, household budgets have tightened and people are more cautious about spending. As margins tighten, retailers have also been hit by higher costs. On budget day, the chancellor has the power to encourage further retail achievements and reduce new cost threats."

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