Business representatives welcomed the announcement by Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister, to delay the revaluation of commercial property and commit to a long-term retail strategy.

It came amid fears upgrading premises to meet Covid standards could lead to some firms having to pay more as a result.

The move was part of a series of measures supported "in a preliminary response" to the Programme for Government unveiled this afternoon.

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David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “We are delighted the Government has taken up our proposal and committed to working with the industry to develop a Scottish retail strategy.

“Even before the onset of coronavirus and the immense challenges it poses, the retail industry in Scotland was undergoing seismic transformation thanks to profound structural and economic changes.

“This positive commitment should result in a more strategic approach towards supporting and nurturing the growth of the industry, Scotland’s largest private sector employer, helping it fulfil its potential over the decade ahead. This will benefit retail, the customers it serves, and its supply chain.”

He added: “The decision to push back the next commercial property revaluation by a year will at least ensure that firms’ rates liability reflect the post-Covid economic reality.

“However, the immediate issue for retail is avoiding April’s ‘reverse cliff edge’, when 100% business rates are scheduled to be reinstated.

"With the industry having lost £2.1 billion of sales over recent months and with retailers’ revenues continuing to fall short, such an imposition is unsustainable.

"We will be looking to the Scottish Budget to ensure rates are phased in to prevent an immediate and unaffordable spike in costs.”

Dunelm has said its performance so far this year has been "materially ahead of our initial expectations" as people stuck at home invested in home goods.

The company said it had seen positive footfall growth in its out-of-town superstores and strong growth in home delivery.

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Sales rose by 59% year over year in July, while summer discounts were on and pent-up demand was released, and increased by 24% in August, Dunelm said.

Ted Baker founder Ray Kelvin has appointed a nominee to the company's board to represent him.

Colin La Fontaine Jackson will be a nominee director for Mr Kelvin, who still owns nearly 12% of the business.

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It is part of a "relationship agreement" which lets the company tap into Mr Kelvin's expertise.

Ted Baker said it "brings the benefits of access to Ray's unique brand experience and insight, while at the same time introducing clear guidelines that will ensure board independence is maintained and that the interests of shareholders are prioritised and protected".

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