It has been announced by B&Q owners, Kingfisher, that they will be returning the £130m in business rates relief that they were given by the UK government.
In March, all retail and hospitality businesses in the UK were given a 12 month break from their business rates in an effort to help them through the pandemic. The decision by the Kingfisher group to pay back their rates means that large businesses have now promised more than £2bn in repayments.
The company initially closed their B&Q and Screwfix shops through the initial weeks of the first national lockdown. Stores then reopened in May and have seen sales driven by a demand for home improvement. It has been documented that the first national lockdown saw a rise in decorating, baking and gardening. Furloughed workers found new hobbies to fill their time. Home improvements were high on people’s priority lists, with individuals determined to make the best of their homes.
A recent update released by Kingfisher showed that sales have risen 12.6%.
Who else has promised to repay their business rates?
Last week, there was a flurry of announcements from businesses across the retail sector. One by one, they all started saying that they would be repaying their business rates. The latest announcement from Kingfisher means that they are joining supermarkets such as Tesco, Lidl and Asda as well as retailers like Pets at Home and B&M in repaying their rates.
Many of those who were designated essential retail services have reported bumper years.
Some retailers have gone even further in their announcements. Pets at Home announced last week that they would be paying back their business rates. As well as this, they announced that they would be closing all stores for both Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Despite potentially costing the business £3bn, bosses have decided that hard working staff deserve to have a proper rest over the Christmas period.