Trouva – the curated online marketplace for the best independent bricks-and-mortar shops and recently named one of the five hottest scale-ups in the UK (TNW Tech5) – announced a new partnership with retail real estate advisors Harper Dennis Hobbs (HDH) to help tackle unfair business rates for Trouva’s community of over 500 high street shops across the UK.This news reinforces Trouva’s ongoing mission to support independent businesses and safeguard their future amid the shifting retail environment.
The partnership offers a full suite of market-leading property services to Trouva’s network of independent boutiques. As part of this threefold real-estate package, Trouva’s UK shop owners can access bespoke business rates investigation and appeal services which could lead to a reduction in business rates – provided on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. The partnership also provides Trouva’s full community of shops across the UK and Europe with hands-on lease advisory services to assist with rent reviews, lease renewals and negotiations, as well as enabling them to take advantage of HDH’s expert advice in sourcing and acquiring new stores, helping them with plans for future growth and expansion.
The news of the strategic partnership with HDH comes following the government’s so-called Future High Street Fund that opened on Boxing Day 2018, which saw £675m in funding from Philip Hammond’s budget dedicated to reinvigorating Britain’s high streets. Trouva’s decision to partner with HDH demonstrates a recognition of the fact that the chancellor’s investment is a good first step in terms of helping small retailers, but that there is more to be done to support small high street businesses through the provision of practical help on property and retail-related issues.
Mandeep Singh, co-founder and CEO at 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 saw 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, said: “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 per cent 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.”