John Lewis Partnership to award staff cost-of living-payment as it reports first half loss
The John Lewis Partnership has announced that it will be awarding its staff a one-off payment and free food over the winter in response to the cost-of living crisis.
The news came as the owner of the John Lewis department store and Waitrose supermarket reported that had plunged to a £99 million loss in its first half.
The partnership said it is making an active choice to spend £45 million to help staff. This will include offering free food over 14 weeks during the winter. The payment will be £500 for full-time partners but less for part-time.
In a letter to staff members, John Lewis chair Sharon White said: “I know partners throughout the business are really feeling it, after two tough years of the pandemic and necessary – but difficult – restructuring. My great thanks to everyone for your continuing commitment in these times of uncertainty. I know it has not been easy.
“We are responding to the cost-of-living crisis by supporting those who need it and by stepping up our efficiency programme. We are forgoing profit by making choices based on the sort of business we are, led by our Purpose – ‘Working in Partnership for a happier world’ – by helping our partners, customers, communities and suppliers.”
John Lewis Partnership said it made a first half loss of £99 million, or £92 million before exceptional costs, largely due to the combination of cost inflation not fully passed on to customers and the impact of the cost-of-living crisis. The loss was also attributed to the unwinding of Covid shopping patterns and investments to support partners, customers and suppliers.
Waitrose sales came in at £3.6 billion in the period which marked a 5% like-for-like decline on a year ago. However, sales were up 7% on a like-for-like basis on three years prior.
Meanwhile. John Lewis achieved sales of £2.1 billion to mark a 3% like-for-like uplift on last year and a 13% increase on three years ago.
Looking ahead, the partnership said the outlook is uncertain and that a successful Christmas will be key given the results of the first half.
White added: “Time and again we have been tested as a partnership. We have always come through – and stronger – by being mindful of the challenges but also open to new opportunities. We will do so again.”
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