Sainsbury’s to forgo business rates relief
Sainsbury’s has said it will forgo the business rates relief that the UK government and the devolved administrations have granted to its stores since March.
The retailer said it spent £290 million in its first half on Covid-19 measures to keep staff and customers safe, although this was partially offset by £230 million of business rates relief.
However, Sainsbury’s said most of its stores have have experienced strong trading throughout the pandemic which means its sales and profits have been better than originally expected, particularly since the start of the second lockdown in England. As a result, it has chosen to forgo the business rates relief offered.
Simon Roberts, Sainsbury’s chief executive, said: “While we have incurred significant costs in keeping colleagues and customers safe, food and other essential retailers have benefited from being able to open throughout. With regional restrictions likely to remain in place for some time, we believe it is now fair and right to forgo the business rates relief that we have been given on all Sainsbury’s stores. We are very mindful that non-essential retailers and many other businesses have been forced to close again in the second lockdown and we hope that this goes some way towards helping them.”
However, Roberts said Saisnbury’s is continuing to urge the government to review the business rates system to create more of a level playing field between physical and online retailers.
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