Sainsbury’s to forgo business rates relief even after extension granted

Sainsbury’s is facing further pressure to pass a resolution to pay its direct staff and contracted workers the living wage.
Over half of the FTSE 100 are among the more than 10,000 accredited living wage employers. But none of them are big supermarkets.
// Sainsbury’s will not take advantage of the business rates holiday extension in England
// It would forgo the relief on all Sainsbury’s stores this year, as well as Argos stores
// Last year it repaid £440m worth of business rates relief to the government

Sainsbury’s has announced it would not take advantage of the business rates holiday extension in England after the Chancellor announced it in yesterday’s budget.

In a statement, the Big 4 grocer – which has been allowed to remain open throughout lockdowns due to its “essential” status – said it welcomed the extension but decided to “forgo the business rates relief on all Sainsbury’s stores again this year”.

“We will also forgo the business rates relief on all standalone Argos stores once they re-open,” the retailer added.


Retail Gazette has contacted Sainsbury’s to clarify whether it would also forgo business rates extensions from across its estate in Wales and Scotland, where the respective devolved governments have announced a 12-month extension on the rates relief.

In England, retail, hospitality and leisure high street premises will enjoy a business rates holiday extension until the end of June, after which a two-thirds discount will be implemented for the remainder of the tax year.

Last December, Sainsbury’s was among the flurry of grocers that announced it would pay back the business rates relief it benefited from in the current tax year.

At £440 million, its repayment was the second-highest of the retailers that come forward to hand over the relief back to the government.

“Despite significant ongoing costs associated with protecting colleagues and customers from Covid-19, we expect that the vast majority of Sainsbury’s stores will remain open this year,” the grocery giant said.

It added: “We look forward to broader conversation and consultation with government on over-arching business rates reform and a review of business taxation in the round.

“We believe fundamentally that business rates are an outdated and unfair burden on retailers with physical stores and need to be permanently reduced.

“When we reiterated profit guidance in January for the financial year to March 2022, this included the expectation that we would pay business rates for all Sainsbury’s and Argos stores.”

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