Ocado chairman Stuart Rose warns retailers must stay open for good after this lockdown


Ocado’s chairman and retail veteran Stuart Rose has warned that retail must remain open for good when the UK emerges from its current lockdown.

The former Marks & Spencer chief executive told BBC radio: “Businesses are not designed to stop and start, you just cannot do that”.

Non-essential retailers have been forced to close and re-open their stores numerous times over the past year due to three successive national lockdowns.

Rose urged the government to ensure that when retailers are allowed to reopen again it must ensure it was for the final time, Reuters reported.

READ MORE: Ocado voted one of the UK’s worst digital experiences

“The short-term need is for us to have some clarity,” he added.

“We need to have confidence that when we re-open again we will stay open”.

Ahead of the March 3 budget statement, Rose also called on chancellor Rishi Sunak to “make sure we don’t do anything stupid”.

Specifically, he called on Sunak to ensure tax rates and VAT would not be changed to “give people the confidence” of knowing things will stay the same in the short term.

He also encouraged the government to maintain its furlough scheme and extend business rates holidays for retailers.

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson has suggested that he will lay out a path for coming out of lockdown on Monday.

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