B&Q owner to waive business rates relief on £130m bill

The company behind B&Q has said it plans to return millions of pounds to the UK and Irish Governments, becoming the latest firm to pay back business rates relief.

Kingfisher said it was eligible for relief on up to £130 million worth of business rates in the two countries because of decisions taken to help out firms during the pandemic.

But, unlike many retailers, DIY companies have fared well during lockdown, as people stuck indoors have started sprucing up their homes.

Kingfisher said around £110 million of the rates relief it was eligible for falls this financial year, with the rest coming next year.

Boss Thierry Garnier said Government support for Kingfisher and other companies had been “invaluable” during the pandemic.

He added that the business had taken steps to ensure its online and in-store operations were ready to meet the needs of 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,” he said.

“These actions, combined with the rollout 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 3,500 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 now predicts an adjusted pre-tax profit of about £85 million in the current financial year, down from previous guidance of approximately £175 million.

On Wednesday last week, Tesco set off a cascade of companies returning their rates relief by announcing it would pay back £585 million to the Government.

Later the same day, Morrisons said it would pay its £274 million bill in full. Asda, Whole Foods, Pets At Home, B&M, Aldi, Lidl and Sainsbury’s all followed suit.