Department stores retailer Macy's Inc has amended its $2bn bank credit facility to provide additional financial flexibility to weather economic downturn.

The changes update both financial covenants of the bank credit agreement provided by Bank of America and JP Morgan, and "should remove any question about the financial strength of Macy's Inc, including our ability to retire $950m in debt that is maturing in 2009," the retailer said.

Terry J Lundgren, Macy's chairman, president and chief executive officer, said: "We believe it was appropriate to proactively pursue amendments that would permit continued financial flexibility in the current uncertain economic environment."

The maturity date of the company's credit facility - 31 August 2012 - remains unchanged, and Macy's says it has no current borrowings against the facility.

Shares in Macy's, which operates more than 850 Macy's and Bloomingdale's department stores rose 18% yesterday (17 December) on the news.