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John Lewis profits jump as fashion sales soar

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Profits at John Lewis soared last year, rising by more than 37%, while like-for-like sales shot up by 10.5%.

In the year to January 26 gross sales at the department store chain rose 13.5% to £3.78bn as revenues grew 13.5% to £3.05bn. Operating profit at the retailer increased 37.2% to £216.7m while online sales delivered a massive 40.8% rise to £959m.

Fashion sales at John Lewis increased by 9.1%, driven by a mix of own brand, new brand acquisitions and designer collaborations, including its Alice Temperley collection.

Gross sales across the John Lewis Partnership rose 9.3% to £9.54bn, while revenues rose 9.1% to £8.47bn. Group operating profit rose 15% to £452.4m. The retailer’s profit before partnership bonus and tax was £409.6m, up 15.8% on last year.

All staff at John Lewis will receive a share of a £210.8m bonus, which equates to 17% of their salary, equal to nearly 9 weeks’ pay.

Charlie Mayfield, chairman of John Lewis Partnership, said: “We were encouraged by the acceleration in the rate of sales growth during the year, particularly in the final quarter. Although the market remains challenging, the Partnership has adapted quickly and successfully and we saw the benefits this year. We have stepped up innovation in new products, there’s been a continuing focus on value and sustained and rapid growth online. This resulted in over 1.5 million more customers choosing to shop with Waitrose or John Lewis than last year.”

John Lewis added that despite the subdued market it has seen a good start to this financial, with like-for-like sales after five weeks 13.7% higher than this time last year.

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