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Retail CEO argues for greater taxes against online outlets

05 March 2013 - 11:53 by Graham Miller

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Ian Cheshire, who is the chief exec of the Kingfisher retail group, recently spoke out about the argument over taxation for online retailers.

He claims that bricks and mortar outlets have to put up with far greater taxation obligations than those companies that solely offer their products to consumers through safe shopping online.

As such, he believes that e-commerce companies should face higher rates of tax, in an effort to help save the UK's struggling high streets, according to The Express.

Part of the problem is of course due to the cost associated with renting out retail space that is necessitated by opening a high street store.

Retailers not only need to pay taxes on the outlets that customers visit in the flesh, but must also accommodate many other taxable concerns, such as warehouses and administrative offices.

Meanwhile, a pure play online retailer will not face all of these same concerns, because of course their storefront is digital and so takes up no physical space and all they need is a warehouse or two to fulfil customers' orders.

Mr Cheshire heads up the firm that is accountable for B&Q, amongst other major high street names, which puts him in a particularly good position to comment on the state of high street taxation issues.

Because tax must be paid for rented space and sales personnel, while sales made via safe shopping online tend to bypass such factors, he argues that the government needs to make changes to help online outlets and the high street compete on a level playing field.

Of course in many instances, the high street retailers also rely on e-commerce sales to help keep their businesses from going under, so more tax for online outlets might end up hurting companies at both ends.