Beales, one of the country’s oldest department stores, collapsed into administration on Monday, putting more than 1,000 jobs at risk.
Bournemouth is home to the chain’s founding store, which could now be one of 23 forced to shut.
Martin Davies, chair of the Bournemouth Town Centre Business Improvement District, told Wake Up to Money that the current retail environment was “a challenge”, and described business rates as a major problem.
He said: “If you look at Beales, they lost about £3m. The business rates on their Bournemouth flagship store alone were £440,000 a year. That’s an enormous overhead for a business to try and carry, even in good times. It’s appalling.”
He suggested an alternative “where all businesses pay tax on the profit they make, rather than where they locate their premises. Otherwise, the internet has a permanent and natural competitive advantage.”