John Lewis profits down 99 per cent
John Lewis & Partners, which has a department store in Welwyn Garden City and branches of Waitrose in St Albans, Stevenage and Hitchin, has announced a 99 per cent drop in its profits.
The upmarket retail giant’s pre-tax profits for the last six months were announced today and amount to £1.2million, down 98.8 per cent from £103.9million in January this year.
The January figure was itself a 77 per cent drop from the last period.
The figures apply to both John Lewis stores and Waitrose.
Company chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield said that these numbers are in line with what they had predicted and planned for in a strategy update in June.
The company has invested heavily in cyber security, data protection, and product innovation, and says it has nonetheless increased both sales and customer numbers.
It also has reduced its total net debts, which are £700million lower than July last year.
Sir Charlie added: “The pressure on gross margin has predominantly been from our commitment to maintain price competitiveness.
“This reflects our decision not to pass on to our customers all cost price inflation from a weaker exchange rate and from our ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ promise, where we have seen an unprecedented level of price matching as other retailers have discounted heavily.
“In addition, John Lewis & Partners profits were impacted by the costs of new shops and higher IT costs as we continued to invest for future growth, and from lower property profits compared to last year.”
“These are challenging times in retail,” he said.
Earlier this month the company announced it was to change its name, adding “& Partners” to the branding of both John Lewis and Waitrose, in a bid to emphasise how central its employees (‘partners’) are to its company ethos.
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