John Lewis Partnership has ‘positive’ Christmas but considers suspension of partner bonus
The John Lewis Partnership has reported “positive” trading in the seven weeks to 5 January, with like-for-like sales at the Waitrose supermarket chain and the John Lewis department stores rising by 0.3% and 1% respectively.
Sales at John Lewis department store were boosted by strong performances in fashion where sales were up 6.8%. In addition, the Partnership said Black Friday helped the retailer to achieve its biggest ever sales week.
Meanwhile, Waitrose benefited from a 12.8% increase in online sales over the period.
Commenting on the performance, Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “Two main factors are affecting the retail sector – oversupply of physical space and relatively weak consumer demand. Despite this, we had a positive Christmas trading period thanks to the extraordinary efforts of Partners in our business, delivering differentiated products and service to customers.”
However, the John Lewis Partnership said it is continuing to expect its full year profits to be substantially lower this year following slower sales growth, higher costs and margin pressure at John Lewis.
While the Partnership said it had the financial strength and flexibility to pay a “modest” bonus this year, it added: “The board will need to consider carefully in March, following the usual process, whether payment of a bonus is prudent in the light of business and economic prospects at that time.”
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