1. Comment
December 7, 2020

Owner of B&Q becomes latest retailer to hand back Covid rates relief

Kingfisher, owner of B&Q and Screwfix, has pledged to return £130m in business rates relief it received during the Covid-19 pandemic.

By MarketLine  

Kingfisher, owner of B&Q and Screwfix, has pledged to return £130m in business rates relief it received during the Covid-19 pandemic. This follows assurances from other major UK retailers, with total repayments amounting to more than £2bn.

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Numerous retailers had been criticized for accepting government support while announcing dividend payments. Many essential retailers have seen a sales boost during the pandemic.

Pressure is now mounting on other essential retailers to repay the relief.

Tesco first to announce it would repay £585m with others quick to follow

As one of the largest ratepayers in the UK, Tesco became a big beneficiary of the year-long business rates holiday. However, the retailer faced criticism after it paid its investors £315m in October.

On 2nd December, Tesco announced that it would repay £585m in business rates relief. Morrison’s was quick to follow suit, committing to pay £274m. Sainsbury’s, Asda, Aldi, Lidl, Pets at Home, and B&M have all since promised to repay the government financial assistance.

With Kingfisher becoming the latest retailer to commit to this, total repayments will amount to over £2bn.

Pressure is mounting on other retailers

Pressure is building on other essential retailers to repay Covid rates relief. Despite rising costs, sales for many of the larger essential retailers have seen a boost during the pandemic.

Homeware chain, The Range, is yet to comment, while Halfords has said that no decision has been made yet. The Co-op has stated that rising costs associated with protecting staff and customers have outweighed savings made. However, the retailer has said that it will consider the government support it has received at the end of the year.

Marks & Spencer has said it will not repay rates. For M&S, much of its business is composed of non-essential retail, which has had to be closed for a large proportion of the year.

With many of the larger essential retailers now pledging to repay the relief, it is likely that others will follow the example and pay the money back.

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What is the impact of China’s Zero-COVID lockdowns on economic activity, consumer goods and the foodservice industry?

While wanting to protect the country from being overwhelmed by Omicron, China’s adherence to a Zero-COVID policy is resulting in a significant economic downturn. COVID outbreaks in Shanghai, Beijing and many other Chinese cities will impact 2022’s economic growth as consumers and businesses experience rolling lockdowns, leading to a slowdown in domestic and international supply chains. China’s Zero-COVID policy is having a demonstrable impact on consumer-facing industries. Access GlobalData’s new whitepaper, China in 2022: the impact of China’s Zero-COVID lockdowns on economic activity, consumer goods and the foodservice industry, to examine the current situation in Shanghai and other cities in China, to better understand the worst-affected industry sectors, foodservice in particular, and to explore potential growth opportunities as China recovers. The white paper covers:
  • Which multinational companies have been affected?
  • What is the effect of lockdowns on foodservice?
  • What is the effect of lockdowns on Chinese ports?
  • Spotlight on Shanghai: what is the situation there?
  • How have Chinese consumers reacted?
  • How might the Chinese government react?
  • What are the potential growth opportunities?
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Enter your details here to receive your free Whitepaper.