// John Lewis Partnership sales across Black Friday and Christmas better than expected
// The group will repay a Covid-19 loan of £300m to the government two months early
John Lewis Partnership has said its sales across Black Friday and Christmas “held up better than anticipated”.
The John Lewis department store and Waitrose supermarket chain owner said it now expected its profits to be ahead of guidance provided in September when it forecast a small loss or a small profit for the 2020/21 period.
The group also said it had decided to repay a Covid-19 loan of £300 million to the government two months early as it believes it has sufficient liquidity for the future.
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The £300 million it received from the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility was due to be repaid by March 15.
It comes after the group refused to hand back the business rates relief it received for its Waitrose arm, despite the majority of rival supermarkets repaying the tax break.
“Despite the headwinds of the last year when John Lewis stores were closed for several months, and future trading volatility, the partnership believes it has sufficient liquidity going forward,” John Lewis Partnership said.
It will publish its annual results on March 11.