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Northern Ireland jeweller Lunn's takes out 'substantial loan' to get through coronavirus pandemic

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The Lunn’s shop at Queen’s Arcade in Belfast.

The Lunn’s shop at Queen’s Arcade in Belfast.

The Lunn’s shop at Queen’s Arcade in Belfast.

Northern Ireland jeweller firm Lunn’s has taken out a “substantial” loan from Danske Bank through the government’s coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS), it has been announced.

Danske Bank also said it has provided 49 loans through the scheme at a combined value of £13m over the last week.

The government has come under fire over aspects of the scheme, leading Chancellor Rishi Sunak to announce changes including widening the number of firms who can benefit.

Lunn’s has been in business for 60 years and is one of Northern Ireland’s most famous retailers, with shops in Belfast’s Queen’s Arcade and Victoria Square and at Shipquay Street in Derry.

But retailers like jewellers have seen their sales come to a standstill after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered all but “essential” retailers to shut two weeks ago.

John Lunn, managing director of Lunn’s Jewellers, said: “Lunn’s has a proud history of delivering consistent cash flow, but we realised very quickly that we were facing a prolonged period of closure because of coronavirus. It is a situation that I know many other successful businesses now find themselves in.

“I commend Danske Bank for their ability to deliver this loan to us so smoothly and efficiently in a short timeframe. It will make a significant difference as we look to the future.”

The loan scheme was set up to provide support to businesses around the UK that had been trading successfully before the outbreak of coronavirus.

The amount of the loan taken by Lunn’s has not been disclosed but Dankse Bank said the loan was “substantial... to bridge the period while its shops are closed and customers are restricted in terms of leaving their homes”.

Shaun McAnee, managing director of corporate and business banking at Danske Bank, said:“The CBILS scheme is a great initiative for supporting businesses.

"We’re committed to supporting our customers and the Northern Ireland economy by implementing the scheme swiftly. Our relationship managers and small business advisers are working hard to help the many businesses approaching us about applying for facilities through this scheme.”

He added: “We’re pleased to be able to support Lunn’s through the CBILS scheme and to ensure that one of Northern Ireland’s best-known family businesses is ready to return to normal trading when this unprecedented coronavirus crisis ends.”

Belfast Telegraph