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04 Dec 2020 | 11:03

Lidl to repay more than £100m to UK

(Sharecast News) - Lidl said it would repay more than £100m of business rates relief to the UK, adding to more than £1.8bn of refunds announced in the past two days. The discount grocery chain said it took the money early in the pandemic to support its business but that with its business on a firm footing it no longer needs the support.

Lidl's decision follows similar moves by rivals including Sainsbury's, Morrisons and its German rival Aldi. The chain of refund announcements was set off when Tesco said on Wednesday it would repay £585m of business rates relief.

Christian Härtnagel, Lidl's UK boss, said: "The business rates relief that was provided to us, and the rest of the supermarket sector, came with a lot of responsibility that we took extremely seriously.

"We've been considering this for some time, and we are now in a position to confirm that we will be refunding this money. We feel confident that the business is well positioned to navigate and adapt to any further challenges brought by Covid-19."

The refunds, also announced by Asda and B&M, add up to more than £1.8bn. Big retailers have been under pressure to pay back government support after sales boomed during the crisis and some, including Tesco and Sainsbury's, paid big dividends to shareholders.

Waitrose, owned by John Lewis Partnership, and Marks & Spencer have said they have no intention of paying back the relief they received on business rates. The Co-op is the other big grocery chain not to announce a plan to repay.

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