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Market Commentary

​​​​Weekly Retail & Leisure News - 08 December, 2014

Business rates review announced as Black Friday breaks records at John Lewis

George Osborne pledged to review the business rates system and extend short-term measures to boost the high street in last week’s Autumn Statement. The chancellor said that he would cap the inflation-linked increase in business rates to 2%, a measure that would cost the Treasury £125m and also announced a full review of the structure of business rates. Tim Beattie, Head of JLL Rating commented: “We welcome the announcement of the increase in retail rate relief to £1500 in the next financial year which will help some struggling retailers. The 2% cap on all increases in business rate liability is also good news, although this is not a huge giveaway as it would otherwise have been 2.3%.”

In other news, the lure of Black Friday bargains lifted weekly sales at John Lewis to the highest levels in its 150-year history, with one tablet computer sold every second in the rush for pre-Christmas bargains. Figures released by the retailer on Tuesday showed sales of £179m in the week to the end of Saturday, up almost 22% on Black Friday 2013, surpassing the record of £164m set in the week before Christmas last year and cementing the event as a fixture on the British retail calendar.

Further strength in the UK retail and leisure market can be seen through by two new entrants announcing market entry plans. South African billionaire and retail expert, Christo Wiese, is set to open a 50 store discount fashion chain, called Pepkor. The retailer will be targeted at mothers and children and sell a range of affordable fashion products. In addition, Menchie’s, the American frozen yoghurt parlour chain, has announced that it will launch in the UK next year with plans to open 200 stores and create up to 3,000 jobs. JLL Retailer Services team are advising Menchie's on its expansion.

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