Analysis: Co-op’s business rates return refusal – prudent or a PR disaster?

Co-op sign 2

Another impressive set of annual results for the Co-op has been overshadowed by its decision to keep business rates relief. Group chief executive Steve Murrells explains the decision and claims it has the full backing of members.

“We are always looking ahead and are mindful of the challenges and uncertainty. We think this year will be as tough as last year,” says Co-op group boss Steve Murrells, before adding somewhat wearily, “which brings us to our decision on the repayment of government money.” 

Despite group revenues growing to £11.5bn and profits before tax hitting £92m up 38% in the 52 weeks to January 2, the Co-op has decided to return only £15.5m of the £82m it received in government support last year. 

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