Retail is at death’s door – and tinkering with business rates won’t save it

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The fact that buyers rescuing Debenhams and Arcadia don’t want their 500 shops shows how deep the high street crisis is

The coronavirus pandemic has meant a brutal period for high street retailers, many of which were struggling before last spring as more and more consumer sales moved online.

This trend was particularly noticeable last week with the rescue deals brokered for the stable of brands owned by Arcadia, Sir Philip Green’s bust fashion group, and for ailing department store chain Debenhams. In both cases there was zero appetite from the buyers to take on any of the groups’ combined estate of more than 500 shops.

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