Daily Mail

Ash­ley: Web is killing High St

- Business · Sports Direct International · Michael Ashley · Amazon · Newcastle United Football Club · House of Fraser Oxford Street

THE founder of Sports Di­rect last night warned MPs that the in­ter­net is killing the High Street.

Mike Ash­ley, pic­tured, de­manded a 20 per cent tax on re­tail­ers that make more than 20 per cent of their sales on­line.

The ty­coon, 54, branded shop rents and busi­ness rates ‘pre­his­toric’, adding: ‘You have to tax the in­ter­net for the good of the High Street.’

So far this year, as many as 40,000 re­tail jobs have been axed, or are now at risk, as shop­pers flock to on­line-only firms such as Ama­zon. In Au­gust Mr Ash­ley paid £90mil­lion for House of Fraser – where 12,000 jobs are at risk – af­ter it went bust.

Yes­ter­day he told a com­mit­tee of MPs the sec­tor is al­ready dead ‘at the bot­tom of the swim­ming pool’. Mr Ash­ley, who also owns New­cas­tle United, last night said he is in talks to sell the club be­fore Jan­uary.

The Mail is cam­paign­ing to save our High Streets by re­form­ing busi­ness rates and in­tro­duc­ing a fair tax for on­line firms.

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