Asos has taken the decision to repay cash to the government it claimed for furloughing workers after its sales grew in lockdown.
The online retailer saw group sales increase by 10 per cent to £1 billion in the four months to 30 June.
Its sales fell by 1 per cent to £329 million in the period, but international sales, particularly in Europe, were strong, up 17 per cent to £654 million.
In its trading update, Asos said that it would be returning cash it received under the government’s furlough scheme after a “better than initially-expected full-year performance”.
“This has been a tough time for all businesses, but we have remained focused on doing the right thing for our people,” Asos boss Nick Beighton said.
The announcement comes hot on the heels of news that Primark is expected to reject around £30 million in bonus payments for bringing furloughed staff back into work amid signs of encouraging sales.
The high street retailer has been praised for doing its bit to protect the public purse after it moved to shun the £1,000 bonus for its 30,000 staff.
The move will heap pressure on other businesses to turn down the £9 billion handouts from the Treasury, which the Chancellor admits will go to many companies that are already back up and running after lockdown.
A spokesman for Primark’s parent group ABF said: “I can confirm that Primark does not intend to take advantage of support under the Job Retention Bonus announced by the Chancellor this week.
“The company removed its employees from government employment support schemes in the UK and Europe in line with the reopening of the majority of its stores.
“The company believes it should not be necessary therefore to apply for payment under the Bonus scheme on current circumstances.”
According to the Sunday Times, William Hill has joined Primark in rejecting the bonus payments.
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