John Lewis Partnership Posts 2.3% Sales Increase In First Half
UK retail group John Lewis Partnership, which operates John Lewis department stores and the Waitrose supermarket chain, has posted a 2.3% increase in sales to £5,395 million for the first half of 2017.
At Waitrose, in particular, sales were up by 2.3% to £3,324.2 million, while revenue grew by 2.2% to £3,131.1 million, however, operating profit fell by 8.5% to £88.1 million.
Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of John Lewis Partnership, said that this represents a "solid performance in a difficult market".
"As we anticipated in our full year results statement in March, the first half of this year has seen inflationary pressures driven by exchange rates and political uncertainty. These have dampened customer demand, especially in categories connected to the housing market."
The company says that both of its businesses have experienced increasing numbers in 2017 as it continues to launch new brands, products, and services.
At Waitrose, the company relaunched its Food-to-Go and ready meals ranges, and promoted its 'essential Waitrose' private label line, which makes up 21% of the retailer's sales by volume.
Almost 70 of its branches have received investment in the first half of the year, including the roll-out of fresh sushi counters, which are now in over 50 Waitrose Branches.
Additionally, John Lewis Partnership announced this week that former Marks & Spencer executive Laura Wade-Gery is to be appointed as a non-executive director to the group's board.
John Lewis Partnership currently operates 48 John Lewis stores and 353 Waitrose supermarkets across the UK, and says that the Christmas season will be an important time for its two retail businesses.
"We are well set for our all-important seasonal peak, but we expect the headwinds that have dampened consumer demand and put pressure on margins to continue into next year," added Mayfield.
"Our full year profits will depend, as they always do, on the final quarter which typically accounts for well over half of our profits before exceptional items."
© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.