THE owner of Sports Direct and House of Fraser has said it could close stores because the chancellor’s latest business rates holiday is “near worthless” for larger firms.

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, said the £2million cap on the amount of rate relief a company can claim means it will have to review all its stores to find any that might no longer be viable.

On Wednesday the Chancellor, extended the holiday on business rates until the end of June.

Rishi Sunak said that for the rest of the financial year after June, rates would remain discounted by two thirds, up to a value of £2m if businesses are closed.

This cap shuts out many larger businesses, including Mr Ashley’s Frasers Group, and disappointed those hoping for a wider overhaul to the tax.

“Frasers Group wishes to note its disappointment at the business rates relief announced,” the business said on Friday.

“Whilst the retail industry as a whole has repeatedly asked for structural reform of business rates, none has been forthcoming. Frasers Group and many retailers would have expected suitable relief until structural reform is implemented.”

Frasers Group has a House of Fraser in Bournemouth, which will be the only department store in the town after the closure of Debenhams and Beales.

It has Sports Direct branches at Bournemouth’s Avenue Centre, Boscombe’s Sovereign Centre, Turbary Retail Park in North Bournemouth, Poole’s Dolphin Shopping Centre and Poole Retail Park at Branksome.

It added: “For Frasers Group this cap will make it nearly impossible to take on ex-Debenhams sites with the inherent jobs created. It will also mean we need to review our entire portfolio to ascertain stores that are unviable due to unrealistic business rates.

“Frasers Group believes that retailers should pay the fair amount of rates in line with realistic rateable values, but instead we continue to have an unwieldy, overly complex, and out of date business rates regime.”