John Lewis to repay £ 300m in government Covid loan ahead of schedule after Christmas sales held up better than expected
- The John Lewis Partnership will repay the funds before the maturity date of March 15
- Waitrose has yet to repay the corporate rate relief, however
- JLP said earnings for the full year are likely to be higher than previous expectations
John Lewis has said it will repay its £ 300 million government coronavirus loan ahead of schedule after Black Friday and Christmas sales held up better than expected.
The John Lewis Partnership, which is home to the eponymous department store chain and supermarket Waitrose, said it believes it has ‘sufficient’ liquidity in the future despite store closings last year.
And so it will hand over the support funding early instead of March 15, when it should, even though its department stores are currently closed due to lockdown.
John Lewis said Christmas and Black Friday trading ‘held up better than expected’
The group also said that thanks to better-than-expected sales during the festive period, full-year earnings are likely to exceed expectations provided in September, when it predicted “ a small loss or a small gain. ”
JLP will publish its annual results on March 11th.
Despite the headwinds of last year, when John Lewis stores were closed for several months, and the future volatility of the trade, the partnership believes it will have sufficient liquidity in the future, ” the company said.
It’s because the last official retail sales in December showed only a slight increase of 0.3 percent, much lower than the 1.2 percent increase expected by economists.
Waitrose has not yet offered to pay back millions of pounds at corporate rates
JLP got the coronavirus support loan after the government and the Bank of England set up the Covid Corporate Financing Facility at the start of the pandemic.
More than 200 major UK companies have borrowed money through the scheme, and many of them have already repaid their loans.
The partnership is intended to repay the loan, but Waitrose remains one of the few UK supermarket chains still offering to repay millions of pounds at corporate rates.
In December, Tesco said it would return £ 585 million from its corporate rate holiday, triggering a chain reaction among rivals who saw about £ 2 billion returned to the government.
Waitrose received approximately £ 120 million in corporate rate cuts for the year, according to estimates from real estate advisor Altus Group.