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Britain's John Lewis won't return pandemic business rates relief

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The John Lewis Partnership, owner of the eponymous department store chain and Waitrose supermarket, said on Thursday it had no plans to repay to government the business rates relief it has received during the Covid-19 pandemic.

[LONDON] The John Lewis Partnership, owner of the eponymous department store chain and Waitrose supermarket, said on Thursday it had no plans to repay to government the business rates relief it has received during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters the government welcomed any decision to repay support "where it is no longer needed".

The employee-owned group said the outlook remained"incredibly uncertain" and government support was crucial to help it navigate the crisis.

"We are incredibly grateful for this vital support because we have lost significant sales while our John Lewis shops have been closed, and have invested heavily to keep our partners and customers safe," the partnership said.

"We're a business owned by our employees - our partners, not external shareholders - and we don't intend to pay a bonus this year. Whenever we make any money, it is invested in our partners, our business and charitable giving."

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REUTERS

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