John Lewis has repaid earlier than scheduled £300m that it borrowed from the Bank of England’s coronavirus pandemic loan scheme, after trading in the run-up to Christmas was more resilient than the retailer had feared.
The department store said it had enough liquidity to return the funds, which had been due for repayment on March 15, even as its stores had closed for several months last year and it suspended its click-and-collect services last week.
The British retailer raised its guidance for profits to be better than a small loss or profit for the full year, which it reports in March, as sales held up during its peak trading period ahead of Christmas.
The central bank set up its Covid-19 corporate financing facility, under which it buys commercial paper issued by companies that have an investment grade credit rating, last March. More than 200 large businesses have tapped the scheme to date, many of which have repaid already.