Sainsbury’s boss Coupe takes parting shot at Amazon on business rates

Mike Coupe

Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe has defended the grocer’s decision to accept business rates relief from the government – and said it will still face a higher bill than Amazon this year.

The supermarket giant will receive a £450m business rates holiday in 2020 after chancellor Rishi Sunak put a host of fiscal measures in place to help companies through the coronavirus crisis.

But Sainsbury’s insists that the rates relief and additional food sales it will make during the pandemic will only “broadly offset” the £500m impact on its bottom line. Profits will be dented by additional payroll costs, the implementation of in-store measures to protect staff and shoppers, reduced profits from its banking arm, and lower sales in fuel, general merchandise and clothing.

Sainsbury’s grocery sales grew 12% in the first seven weeks of its new financial year, while Argos’ sales advanced 9%. But clothing revenues plummeted 53%, other general merchandise sales dropped 22% and fuel sales tumbled 52%.

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