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Profits soar at John Lewis

The John Lewis Partnership has recorded a rise in pre-tax profit of nearly 60% for the first six months of the year compared with 2011.

Revenue rose 8.6% to £3.9bn, while group operating profit rocketed 46.6% to £163.5m. Pre-tax profits were up £54.1m to £144.5m.

In John Lewis itself, like for like sales were up 9.2%, while revenue rose 12.9% to £1.3bn. The department store made an operating profit of £45.6m, up 188.6%.

The ecommerce platform saw gross sales of £375.8m, up 43.1% on the same period last year.

Fashion itself contributed to the overall figure with a rise in sales of 7.2%, with the company highlighting collaborations with designers such as Alice Temperley as having boosted growth.

JLP chairman Charlie Mayfield put the strong figures down to three factors – benefiting from one-off events such as the Jubilee and Olympics, as well as last year’s dampened sales caused by the VAT increase; a rise in multichannel sales and improved efficiency; and JLP’s “clearly differentiated products, backed by outstanding service”.

“In John Lewis we took market share in all categories and launched a series of innovative design collaborations,” he explained.

Looking ahead, Mayfield acknowledged that consumer demand was “fragile” but remained bullish about JLP’s opportunities for future market share growth.

“Our rate of growth will remain positive but will be slower in the second half and, with further investment planned in that period to strengthen our business for the longer term, the rapid rate of profit increase is not expected to be carried through to the full year. This is consistent with our long term commitment to building the Partnership for the future.”

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