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

B&Q owner Kingfisher has said it will return £130m in business rates relief it has received from the government during the Covid pandemic.

It is the latest retailer to announce it will hand back the tax break, taking total promised repayments to more than £2bn.

Kingfisher said since reopening its shops in April and May during the first lockdown, sales have been “strong”.

It said business has been driven by “higher demand for home improvement”.

Some retailers who are classed as “essential” – meaning they were allowed to stay open during the Covid lockdowns – have been criticised for taking government support while announcing dividend payments to shareholders.

Kingfisher has suspended its dividend because of “continuing uncertainty” linked to coronavirus.

The company closed its B&Q and Screwfix shops during the first weeks of lockdown earlier this year but reopened in late April and May.

Since then, sales have boomed as people used their time to make home improvements.

In its most recent trading update, Kingfisher said group like-for-like sales rose 12.6%, which it said reflected the “impact of more recent temporary lockdown measures” in England which began in November and ended last week.

In March, all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England were given a business rates holiday for 12 months to support them through the crisis.

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