John Lewis Partnership sees losses narrow
The John Lewis Partnership has seen its half year losses narrow after the partnership increased its total sales by 6% to £5.87 billion.
In the six-month period ending 31 July, the partnership made a pre-tax loss of £29 million compared to a loss of £635 million at the same time in 2020. The partnership said this was a significant improvement on the corresponding period last year, which was dominated by a write down in the value of John Lewis stores.
Looking at the results for the John Lewis department store chain, sales were up 13% on a like-for-like basis. Almost 75% of sales were online in the period, which was broadly in line with last year. In addition, the retailer’s margins recovered as it returned to a more balanced pattern of trade with fewer laptops sold and more lamp and linen sales.
Meanwhile, like-for-like sales at the Waitrose supermarket grew by 4% on last year. Trading was mainly driven by online growth as the retailer increased capacity in its shops and delivery fleet through a new fulfilment centre in Greenford. Online sales now stand at 17%, up from 11% a year ago.
John Lewis Partnership chairman Sharon White said: “As we look ahead, there is significant uncertainty. Like the whole of retail, we are managing global supply chain challenges and labour shortages. We are seeing inflationary pressures, which we expect to persist.”
The partnership said it has taken various measures to avoid Christmas disruption. These include a successful campaign to recruit drivers, offering competitive salaries and benefits, and recruiting for 7,000 temporary seasonal roles. It has also booked additional freight to ensure that John Lewis Christmas products arrive on time.