B&Q owner Kingfisher to return £130m in business rates relief

Kingfisher B&Q business rates relief Thierry Garnier Andy Cosslett
Last week, many retailers had agreed to hand back billions of pounds worth of rates relief
// Kingfisher will repay £130m in business rates relief
// It expects to make an adjusted pre-tax profit of about £85m in the current financial year
// Earlier this year, Kingfisher repaid £23m worth of furlough money

B&Q parent company Kingfisher has become the latest retailer to confirm it will repay £130 million in business rates relief.

Kingfisher said it would repay the rates relief in the UK and Ireland, worth £110 million this year and £20 million in the next financial year.

The company anticipates that FY 20/21 adjusted profit before tax will include £85 million of non-recurring cost savings from the previous guidance of £175 million.


Earlier this year, Kingfisher repaid £23 million worth of furlough money.

Kingfisher said since it reopened stores in late April, its sales performance had been strong and had been boosted by higher demand for home improvement goods.

“Government support through this crisis has been invaluable for many companies, including ours,” Kingfisher chief executive Thierry Garnier said.

“We also took swift action within our business in response to the pandemic to protect Kingfisher.

“We rapidly adapted our operations, both online and in-store, to fulfil the essential needs of our 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.

“These actions, combined with the roll-out 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
23,500 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.”

Kingfisher chairman Andy Cosslett said: “Kingfisher is in a sound financial position with continuing positive trading momentum, due to both strong consumer demand and the benefits of our strategy.

“We are pleased that we are in a position to do this, and hope that the money can now be redeployed by the government and local authorities where it is needed most.”

The move comes after Amazon reportedly agreed to pay the UK Government £2 million worth of business rates relief from its bricks-and-mortar grocery chain Whole Foods.

It followed similar moves from Aldi and Lidl, and Big 4 grocers Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Asda, all of which announced last week that they would hand back a combined total of almost £2 billion in business rates relief to the government.

Two other retailers that have been allowed to stay open through lockdown as they were classed as “essential”, Pets at Home and B&M, have also announced they would hand over their savings from the business rates relief.

Despite pressure mounting for other essential retailers to follow suit, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and Co-op have said they would not hand over what they have saved because they were needed to offset Covid-related costs.

The one-year business rates holiday was announced in March by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, aimed at helping retailers and hospitality firms forced to close their high street premises due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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