Pets at Home to repay business rates relief

Pets at Home has become the latest retailer to announce plans to repay the government business rates relief.

The retailer will be repaying the full £28.9m of rates relief after strong sales – despite the £35m of Covid related costs.

Pets at Home will be joining a string of supermarkets including Tesco, Asda, and Sainsbury’s who have announced this week plans to repay the government.

“We were very grateful for the rates relief provided back in March during a time of significant uncertainty, which helped us to take the decision to keep our stores, online operations and veterinary practices open. Recent positive news around the launch of vaccinations for Covid-19 has led us to reassess the level of uncertainty ahead,” said Peter Pritchard, Pets at Home chief executive.

“Our decision today demonstrates our clear commitment to acting responsibly and treating all of our stakeholders fairly.”

This week has seen a growing number of retailers repay the government. Pressure on Waitrose to return the business rates relief is growing.

The supermarket group said: “We are incredibly grateful for this vital support because we have lost significant sales while our John Lewis shops have been closed, and have invested heavily to keep our partners and customers safe.”

“We’re a business owned by our employees – our partners, not external shareholders – and we don’t intend to pay a bonus this year. Whenever we make any money, it is invested in our partners, our business and charitable giving.”

Pets at Home shares (LON: PETS) are trading -1.48% at 392,60 (1031GMT).