Online market place for independents Trouva has partnered with retail property firm Harper Dennis Hobbs to help tackle business rates for more than 500 high street shops across the UK.
The partnership offers a suite of property services to Trouva’s network of independent boutiques, including business rates investigation and appeal services provided on a “no win, no fee” basis.
Independents can also avail themselves of advisory services to assist with rent reviews, lease renewals and negotiations, and get advice on sourcing and acquiring new stores, and planning for future growth and expansion.
Mandeep Singh, co-founder and CEO of Trouva, said: “There has never been more uncertainty around the future of our high streets, and at Trouva we’ve long been campaigning for a reduction in business rates so that independent shops don’t continually get punished by this archaic tax.
“Last April saw business rates rise yet again, meaning 1 million small businesses had 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. 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.”
David Purslow, executive director at Harper Dennis Hobbs, added: “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% 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.”