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Dec. 3, 2020, 2:25 a.m. EST

J Sainsbury to repay business rates relief

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By Matteo Castia

J Sainsbury PLC said Thursday that it will forgo the business rates relief it received from the U.K. government and the devolved administrations from March to help it face the coronavirus pandemic.

The British grocer said it received 230 million pounds ($307.4 million) of U.K. business rates relief in the first half of its fiscal 2021, which partly offset the coronavirus-related costs of GBP290 million the company incurred in during the six months ended Sept. 19.

In March, J Sainsbury expected the pandemic hit on clothing, fuel and general merchandise to be broadly offset by stronger grocery sales and around GBP450 million of business rates relief.

The company's move to forgo the business rates relief follows similar decisions by grocers Tesco PLC and Wm. Morrison Supermarkets PLC, which said Wednesday that they would pay back GBP585 million and GBP274 million of business rates relief, respectively.

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