// M&S CEO says business rates relief was “used it in the right way” and won’t be returned
// Steve Rowe calls on government for clarity as end of Brexit transition approaches: “detail of how we are going to move goods about needs to be finalised urgently”
Marks & Spencer chief executive Steve Rowe has stated the business does not intend to pay back the £80 million in business rates relief it received from the government during the pandemic, according to an interview with The Daily Mail.
While the nation’s four largest grocers have announced they will be paying back the relief, Rowe argued that M&S did not cash in during the lockdowns of 2020.
“We haven’t paid back the business rate relief and we don’t intend to. We are really grateful for the government help and we have used it in the right way to keep the balance sheet afloat,” he told The Daily Mail.
In May this year This is Money reported that Rowe had decided against taking an annual bonus for 2019/20 or 2020/21.
During the interview Rowe spoke about the department store’s long-term turnaround plans in order to battle falling profits and being ejected from the FTSE 100.
“It was going to be phenomenal. I really thought we had turned a corner. As it was, we announced our first loss ever in the first half,” Rowe added.
Elsewhere Rowe touched on the concerns for a post-Brexit retail landscape in 2021.
“We are as prepared as we can possibly be,” Rowe told The Daily Mail.
“We don’t think food bills for shoppers in Great Britain will go up,” he said, “but any administrative burden that falls around Northern Ireland could result in extra costs for customers there. Some foods could cost more.
“Now it is not about a trade deal. The detail of how we are going to move goods about needs to be finalised urgently. Surety of the situation is what we need,” he added.