THE owner of House of Fraser and Sports Direct has become the latest to urge the government to reform business rates for the sake of high street retailers.

Frasers Group – formerly called Sports Direct International – owns House of Fraser, whose Bournemouth store is one of the biggest retail premises in the town.

Last weekend, it emerged that Beales was on the verge of going into administration if a sale of the business is not agreed.

The boss of Beales condemned the “lunacy” of the business rates system, which levels a bill of £440,000 a year on the company’s flagship store in Bournemouth.

Now Frasers Group, owned by Mike Ashley, has written to Boris Johnson, urging him to overhaul the rating system.

Lobby groups and retailers bosses have called for business rates to match falling rents in order to ease the impact of sliding high street footfall.

Frasers chief finance officer Chris Wootton wrote: “The current transitional relief results in stores paying the incorrect amount of rates.”

He said businesses where valuations were rising “are benefiting from not paying as much”, while retailers facing a downwards trajectory “are paying far too much” and are “in need of support”.

The company “welcomed an increasing focus” from the government on business rates, but said current policies aimed at providing additional relief for small businesses do “not address the dire straits many of the medium and large stores on our high streets find themselves in”.

The business has said rate reductions would help steady the future of the House of Fraser department store chain, which it bought in 2018.

As well as House of Fraser in Bournemouth, Frasers has Sports Direct stores in Poole’s Dolphin Shopping Centre, Bournemouth’s Avenue Centre and Ringwood Road Retail Park, Boscombe’s Sovereign Centre and Christchurch’s Meteor Shopping Park.

Doubts have been voiced about whether Bournemouth town centre can sustain all of its three large department stores – Debenhams, House of Fraser and Beales. The town centre lost its Marks and Spencer store in 2018.