Good morning, and welcome to our renewed coverage of the global economy, financial markets, the eurozone, and business.
Some breaking news starts in the morning – Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chain, is reimbursing £ 585m in business rates it has received during the coronavirus pandemic.
Tesco announced the move this morning, after criticism that supermarkets do not need help – they enjoyed increased sales during the crisis, and continued to pay dividends to investors.
Tesco says it is “extremely grateful” for the financial and political support provided by UK governments – including a 12-month break for business rates granted to all retailers.
This was a game-changer that allowed us to ensure our customers got the basics they needed.
The chain says it faced “significant uncertainty” earlier this year – panic buying, severe pressure on supply lines, major safety concerns and the risk of mass absenteeism.
The group also notes that the costs for Covid-19 have been significant:
Every penny of the relief rates we’ve received has been spent on our response to the pandemic. Our last estimate in our interim results in October was that COVID would cost Tesco about £ 725 million this year – well over the £ 585 million exemption rates received.
But after continuing to trade through the pandemic, Tesco has now concluded that it can return the savings.
Ten months into the pandemic, our business has proven resilient in the toughest conditions. While all of the business was affected – many of them severely – we were able to continue trading all the time, serving millions of customers every day, and despite the uncertainty, some of the potential risks we faced earlier in the year are now behind us. We remain fully committed to doing the right thing by our customers, colleagues, and all of our stakeholders.
So we announce that we will return to the public the complete exemption of business rates. We will work with the UK government and delegated departments on how best to do this.
This move will pressure other supermarkets to follow suit.
Altus Group, a real estate consulting firm, estimated last month that Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrison, Aldi and Lidl – collectively – would save £ 1.9 billion in easing the prices of the joint business.
The news comes in The new three-tier system in England comes into effect this morning, which means non-essential stores can reopen – just in time for Christmas.
Gyms, hairdressers and other personal care companies can also resume, as official stay-at-home instructions expire. The “rule of six” will again apply to outdoor gatherings in all regions
schedule of work
- 10 am GMT: Euro-Zone unemployment figures for October
- 1.15 pm GMT: US ADP survey of private sector jobs