I think we can guess that Sports Direct has less than 20% of its sales online

Retail tycoon Mike Ashley wants to see a 20pc tax levied on online sales and prison sentences for executives who consistently “fiddle” their way out of paying the levy, as part of his plan to save the country’s “dying” high streets.

He said any companies with more than 20pc of their sales generated online should have to pay the tax, which would “level the playing field” in the retail sector and give local councils more money to help encourage people to shop close to home, such as offering free parking.

21 comments on “I think we can guess that Sports Direct has less than 20% of its sales online

  1. I’m surprised anyone buys sports gear on the high street. If you must have Arsenal United’s strip this year because you’re a moron, I understand, but there’s crazy bargains on Amazon and other places if you just want a pair of shorts.

  2. My guess is that Sports Direct sells plenty on line .It does seem a bit unfair that Retail outlets provide a gateway to online sales and are taxed punitively compared to them as well.
    Would we all be happier with no where to actually go and look at things, I doubt it myself .
    There are times when the anarchy of Libertarian produces results no-one actually wanted , thats why we have planning laws , property rights and so on .
    Is it possible that this is one of those times when the collective will of the punter is better expressed by some collectively agreed formula rather than just letting everyone do whatever they like ?

    Its arguable isn`t it ?

  3. No, it’s not arguable.

    High street has no right to perpetuity. That you will miss them notwithstanding.

  4. Tax online sellers by all means. We then have to pass the tax onto the consumers.
    Online sellers will still have massive advantages in terms of staffing, premises, business rates, rent, utilities etc.

  5. ‘Tax is the single most powerful peaceful instrument a government has to shape the society that it controls.’ – Solomon

    Government should abuse its taxing authority to save high street. See, people really do want fascism.

  6. give local councils more money to help encourage people to shop close to home, such as offering free parking.

    Which they used to do before the same councils milked them with parking charges. Once again, government intervention is proposed as the solution to problems caused by government intervention.

  7. It’s the mechanics of the thing are preposterous. You’re taxing the on-line retailer at where the on-line retailer is. Could be anywhere. Even not in the UK. Now you want to benefit the consumer at where the consumer is.
    HTF to do you do that? Where’s the connection? How do you choose where a centrally collected tax is disbursed locally? If the UK did hypothecated taxes in the first place. This’d just be another swill bucket for the usual snouts, wouldn’t it?

  8. There are times when the anarchy of Libertarian produces results no-one actually wanted

    No one wants cheap stuff they can order while sitting on their sofa?

    Is it possible that this is one of those times when the collective will of the punter is better expressed by some collectively agreed formula rather than just letting everyone do whatever they like ?

    The collective will of the punter is expressed in the market. The high street is dying because people don’t want it anymore.

  9. Mike Ashley now owns House of Fraser, whose large stores are probably in far more need of a Business Rates cut than the tatty Sports Direct shops.

  10. Buggeroff Facepainter. An EU stooge like you on here arguing for stitch-up businesses for Christ’s sake.

    And thick with it–Libertarianism is about property rights. you fucking vin ordinaire numbskull.

  11. Not sure he’s thought this one through.

    Anyway, you could better help the High Street by stopping the Mafia, sorry local councils robbing them blind with business rates (didn’t I read somewhere that Debenhams had a £100m business rates bill nationwide? Fucking lunacy). Then again if the councils didn’t rob them the landlord would, I suppose.

    So if online retailers are clobbered to raise turnover on the High Street, councils will raise their business rates to capture a lot of that. If they don’t the landlord will.

  12. The best solution for unwanted high street retail is to convert it to housing. More people living in town centres will boost the remaining town centre retail.

    you fucking vin ordinaire numbskull

    Nice one!

  13. “Then again if the councils didn’t rob them the landlord would, I suppose.”

    But as the old saying goes, a despotic king can only eat so many stuffed swans and larks tongues, while the State’s desire for tax revenue is virtually infinite. Better to be on the hook for £X per month in rent than the same amount in business rates+rent. You can always negotiate with a landlord (maybe not always successfully, as Mike Ashley found out with his House of Fraser rent reduction demands) but trying to negotiate with HMRC or the local rates dept will get you sod all.

  14. Rob,

    I don’t know the exact details but it seems to me that councils have a self interest in squeezing at the profits but not too much.

    And some retail locations are doing great. Dvds and pairs of pants went to supermarkets and internet, but there’s still shoes or a new coat. And what’s happened there is people travelling to one huge place now. Swindon people go to Reading or Bristol where there’s more choice. People in Stoke go to Manchestrr. A woman can hit a ton of shops in one trip and find something.

  15. But councils don’t rob ’em blind with business rates. Non-Domestic Rates goes straight into central government’s pockets. One of John Major’s great post-poll-tax reforms.

  16. Free parking is a wonderful idea. The parking spaces would be filled up by commuters and by people spinning out a brown, sweet, milky drink over a couple of hours; there would be no room at all for actual shoppers.

  17. Rob

    Anyway, you could better help the High Street by stopping the Mafia, sorry local councils robbing them blind with business rates (didn’t I read somewhere that Debenhams had a £100m business rates bill nationwide? Fucking lunacy). Then again if the councils didn’t rob them the landlord would, I suppose.

    So if online retailers are clobbered to raise turnover on the High Street, councils will raise their business rates to capture a lot of that. If they don’t the landlord will.

    I haven’t looked into local government finance for a long time, but my recollection is that Councils can’t raise the Uniform Business Rate. The district valuer sets the rateable value of each property and central government does the rest. The UBR used to be pooled and then distributed via the grant-related expenditure assessment.

    On the other hand, many councils own the thresholds of retail properties and benefit hugely from the rents they can charge (which in my town are exorbitant!). That said, many pension funds, REITs, etc have also purchased retail freeholds as safe long-term investments; so there’s a lot of private sector involvement in the racket.

  18. Weymouth has just made parking feee after 3pm, which seems like a reasonable compromise to the problem dearieme raises.

  19. What’s this, a businessman who has opportunistically taken over large swathes of the high street and is now doing his damnedest to get government to give his investment advantages to the detriment of the consumer? What was it Adam Smith said?

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