Sainsbury's boss Justin King calls for online tax

Kasmira Jefford
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JSAINSBURY chief executive Justin King yesterday urged the government to introduce a US-style tax on online retailers to help ease the burden on bricks and mortar retailers.

King has repeatedly called for a “level playing field” between traditional and online-only retailers, which can benefit from lower corporation tax but do not have to pay the business rates crippling the high street.

He explained: “For every pound that we have saved [when corporation tax was reduced] we have paid around £2.50 extra in other taxes, primarily business rates.”

King said a version of the Marketplace Fairness Act, which will allow US states to levy local sales taxes on online purchases, was one option being put forward by the industry body the British Retail Consortium.

His comments came as the supermarket chain reported a 0.8 per cent rise in like-for-like sales in the 12 weeks to 8 June, despite tough comparisons with the Diamond Jubilee last year.

Sales were lifted by the re-launch of its own label range – up seven per cent– while its Taste the Difference range grew by 10 per cent.

Online and convenience store sales rose by 16 and 20 per cent respectively.