B&Q owner Kingfisher latest retailer to return millions in Covid business rates relief

7 December 2020, 09:27 | Updated: 7 December 2020, 09:56

Kingfisher is the owner of B&Q and Screwfix
Kingfisher is the owner of B&Q and Screwfix. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

B&Q owner Kingfisher has become the latest retailer to say it will return millions of pounds in business rates relief to the Government.

The company, which also owns Screwfix, expects to return £130 million in business rates relief handed to it by the UK and Ireland governments during the pandemic.

It follows supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda in making the move.

The tax break was introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak to help struggling retailers. However DIY companies, like supermarkets, have fared well during lockdown.

READ MORE: Tesco to return £585 million from business rate holiday

Kingfisher said around £110 million it was eligible for falls in this financial year, with the rest coming next year.

It now predicts an adjusted pre-tax profit of about £85 million in the current financial year, down from previous guidance of approximately £175 million.

Boss Thierry Garnier said government support for Kingfisher and other companies had been "invaluable" during the pandemic.

He added the business had taken steps to ensure its online and in-store operations were ready to meet the needs of customers.

"We made significant investments to ensure the safety of our customers and teams, taking important steps to strengthen our balance sheet and limit the financial impact of Covid-19," he said.

"These actions, combined with the rollout of our new strategy and the hard work of our colleagues and teams, have delivered growth throughout the group and led to the hiring of 3,500 additional colleagues.

"Given this resilience, and our commitment to support our communities, we believe that returning the UK and Irish business rates relief in full is the right thing to do."

Last week Tesco set off a cascade of companies returning their rates relief by announcing it would pay back £585 million to the Government.

Later the same day, Morrisons said it would pay its £274 million bill in full and Asda, Whole Foods, Pets At Home, B&M, Aldi, Lidl and Sainsbury's all followed suit.