John Lewis Partnership has announced the deficit of its UK defined benefit (DB) scheme has plummeted by £361m since its 2013 valuation.
The agreed actuarial deficit was £479m at its 31 March 2016 triennial valuation, details of which were published on 27 January. This is compared to £840m at the 31 March 2013 valuation.
The partnership, which encompasses retail giants John Lewis and Waitrose, said the significant fall had been accomplished thanks to deficit payments of £483m including interest.
It also said the fall related to a change in the allowance for discretionary increases and excess investment returns.
In 2015 the company decided to switch the final salary scheme into a hybrid DB and defined contribution scheme, reducing DB benefits for new and existing employees.
The company did not disclose the scheme's current asset and liability figures, but at the 2013 valuation it had £3.2bn of assets and £4bn of liabilities.
The company and trustee board have also agreed a 10-year plan including £303m of cash contributions to the scheme. More than half of this (£183m) will be paid by the end of March this year, while the remainder will be paid over nine years to 31 March 2026.
The company anticipates investment returns on the scheme's assets will eliminate any leftover shortfall.
It has also implemented an interest rate and inflation hedging programme which will result in 60% of assets being hedged in a liability matching portfolio over the next two to four years.
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