A cooperative attacked for maintaining the reduction of commercial tariffs Business

The cooperative group has come under attack from supermarket rivals for its decision to maintain £ 66 million of trade tariff relief it received during the pandemic despite rising profits and paying executives in bonuses.

The mutual, which is proud of its “truly ethical trading” credentials, will award bonuses to senior executives.

A senior supermarket executive said he was “flabbergasted” by Co-op’s decision not to refund the money and accused the retailer of “nuclear hypocrisy”.

They added: “From a company that has spent the last decade pushing its values ​​down anyone’s throat and taking a high moral stance, looking its customers straight in the eye and saying ‘you can whistle. bang for your buck ‘and’ no, it’s not contradicting our values, it’s nuclear powered ocean hypocrisy. “

The managing director of another retailer who returned the tariff relief said: “It would have been very helpful to keep it, but it’s not our money – it’s the taxpayer’s money.”

The mutual, which also has funeral, legal services and pharmacy divisions, reported turnover of £ 11.5bn for the year ending Jan. 2, £ 600m more than ‘in 2019.

The group’s pre-tax profits fell from £ 24million to £ 127million, while the underlying operating profit of its food business rose from £ 283 million to £ 350million.

The cooperative said it would reimburse £ 15.5million in leave pay claimed under the coronavirus job retention program, but added it had been forced to spend £ 84million on cover costs directly associated with the pandemic, such as PPE for staff.

Steve Murrells, Group Managing Director, said: “What the board has done is very much in line with our values ​​and ethics. The decision was fully supported by the member board, we did not pay any money. dividend and we don’t. have the same access to financial markets as everyone else. “

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This notice was published: 2021-04-08 18:31:13