John Lewis has said its sales across Black Friday and Christmas “held up better than anticipated” and that its profits will be ahead of previous guidance as a result.

John Lewis said it expected results for its current financial year to be ahead of the previous guidance of “a small loss or small profit” as a result of its stronger than expected peak performance – although the business has not provided a Christmas trading update.

The department store group has also said that, due to its resilience over the peak period, it will repay its £300m Covid corporate financing facility to the government now, ahead of the March 15 deadline.

“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,” the retail group said in a statement.

The retail group is due to report its full-year results on March 11.

John Lewis axed its staff bonus at the half-year mark in September after racking up a £55m loss, which boss Sharon White said would be reinstated when profits were under less pressure.

As a ‘non-essential’ retailer, John Lewis had to contend with changing guidelines around stores closures across the festive period. All its stores are currently closed under government advice.

The chain also stopped fulfilling click-and-collect orders from its department stores earlier this month in a bid to drive down non-essential travel by shoppers. Customers can still collect online orders from its Waitrose branches, as well as third-party partners including the Co-op.