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John Lewis repays £300m to the Treasury early

The retailer was hit heavily by the impact of Covid-19 and store closures for several months, but now expects its full-year profit to be ahead of previous guidance

John Lewis has announced it has repaid £300m early to the Treasury and the Bank of England Covid Corporate Financing Facility, which was due for repayment on 15 March 2021.

The retailer was hit heavily by the impact of Covid-19 and store closures for several months, however the Partnership believes it now has sufficient liquidity going forward.

During the peak season, which includes Black Friday and the Christmas period, trading held up “better than anticipated”, according to the group. As a result, it said its full-year profits are likely to be ahead of the profit guidance from the half-year results last September, where it said the most likely outcome would be a small loss or a small profit for 2020/21.

Last year the partnership revealed it would cut 1,500 staff roles at its head office operations up until April 2021, as part of the retail group’s “Partnership Plan”.

It is believed the cuts would save another £50m on top of £50m of recent efficiencies, in order to turn to sustainable profits by 2025.

Sharon White, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said at the time: “Our Partnership Plan sets a course to create a thriving and sustainable business for the future. To achieve this we must be agile and able to adapt quickly to the changing needs of our customers.

“Losing Partners is incredibly hard as an employee-owned business. Wherever possible, we will seek to find new roles in the Partnership and we’ll provide the best support and retraining opportunities for Partners who leave us.”

The company will publish its full-year results on 11 March 2021.

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