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Andrea Felsted

Tesco Has Every Right to Pay a Dividend

But a little more creative thinking would have allowed both employees and shareholders to be rewarded without a backlash.

Social distancing with a shopping cart.

Social distancing with a shopping cart.

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

One well-known British retailer says it has noticed a marked upturn in customers saying “Thank you” to store staff since the start of the Covid-19 crisis. Investors in another — Tesco Plc — will be doing the same after it said it would pay out 635 million pounds ($783 million) in final dividends, taking its distribution for the full year to about 900 million pounds.

Britain’s biggest retailer has every right to reward its shareholders. After all, unlike many companies crippled by the virus lockdown, it is doing well. The supermarket operator has come through the dark days of 2014 when it discovered a 250 million-pound profit shortfall, and made one of the biggest losses in British corporate history.