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Big high street store chain seeks £120m pandemic crisis loan

PUBLISHED: 13:23 07 April 2020 | UPDATED: 13:23 07 April 2020

WH Smth, pictured before the coronavirus lock-down. Pic: Archant

WH Smth, pictured before the coronavirus lock-down. Pic: Archant

Retailer WH Smith has taken out a £120 million loan to get through the pandemic crisis.

The chain stated it had seen a “substantial downturn in economic activity” as a result of the virus.

It has closed the majority of its stores including in Norfolk; Gentleman’s Walk, Norwich, Diss and Thetford. Its St Stephen’s Street branch in Norwich remains open, offering “essential” services such as post office facilities. In Suffolk, North Street, Sudbury and Woodbridge are closed. But Ipswich, Market Hill, Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds remain open.

Customers are asked to check store openings before travelling.

The company said the loan was conditional on it raising new equity. It said: “These financing arrangements, coupled with a broad range of mitigating actions to manage the cost base and cash-flow, will provide sufficient liquidity to deal with this most challenging of trading environments.”

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