The Co-operative Team has arrive less than attack from supermarket rivals for its conclusion to keep £66m of business rates reduction it obtained during the pandemic regardless of submitting a leap in earnings and spending out govt bonuses.

The mutual, which normally takes delight in its “genuinely ethical buying and selling” qualifications, will award bonuses to senior administrators.

A single prime supermarket executive said they ended up “flabbergasted” by Co-op’s conclusion to not repay the hard cash and accused the retailer of “nuclear-powered hypocrisy”.

They added: “From a organization that has used the past decade thrusting their values down anyone’s throat and having the moral superior ground, to search their customers square in the eye and say ‘you can whistle for your revenue back’ and ‘no, it isn’t going to contradict our values’, it can be nuclear-powered, ocean-likely hypocrisy.”

The chief govt of one more retailer that returned the rates relief said: “It would’ve been really helpful to preserve it, but it can be not our revenue – it can be taxpayers’.”

The mutual, which also has funeral, lawful providers and pharmacy divisions, reported profits of £11.5bn for the calendar year to Jan 2, £600m larger than in 2019.

Pre-tax earnings at the group rose to £127m from £24m, even though fundamental working earnings for its food stuff organization jumped from £283m to £350m.

The Co-op reported it would repay £15.5m in furlough assistance claimed by way of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, but added that it experienced been compelled to shell out £84m to go over prices directly associated with the pandemic these as PPE for team.

Steve Murrells, chief govt of the group, reported: “What the board has finished is fully in line with our values and ethics. The conclusion was fully supported by the members’ council, we have not paid out a dividend and we don’t have the exact access to funds markets as other people could.”