Supermarkets, their shareholders, their owners, and their board members, are often branded as greedy. You might say fairly, you might not.
It might come as something as a surprise though, whichever way you view them, to see that Tesco have willingly returned £585 million in Business Rates Relief, in an apparent show of solidarity with other smaller businesses in the UK.
It seems to be a message of…”there are plenty of other smaller businesses who need this money more than we do…”
...and that’s a pretty bold move from one of the country’s leading brands.
It’ll certainly get the tongues wagging around the Zoom virtual boardrooms of the likes of Sainsbury’s, ASDA and Lidl, to name just a few, who will now be expected to follow suit.
Parting with that sort of cash can’t be easy, even for firms who have stayed open throughout the pandemic.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that in not having to close, the likes of Tesco would be in a strong position to afford this sort of gesture, but the added costs of dealing with the pandemic has undoubtedly offset their profit margin.
We’re hearing that the costs of extra sanitisation, store adjustments, increased recruitment and training have added a huge amount of cost to the operation of these food and drink giants.
Tesco claim to have hardly seen any improvement on their bottom line, despite the extra amount of money they were taking in from things like the panic buying episodes and the fact that people were spending money on food and drink to consume at home, when they weren’t allowed to go out.
This makes the gestire all the more remarkable, but it seems that Tesco is keen to distance itself from any future allegations that it profiteered unfairly from the coronavirus crisis.
Of course, as always, this is a double edged sword, because though they may be falling on their sword for the sake of the nation, they’re also pointing that same sword straight at their competitors, throwing down the gauntlet and saying…
…”will you give up the extra money too?”
We’ll have to wait and see who makes the next move.