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John Lewis Partnership profits up 20%

The John Lewis Partnership has reported profit before partnership bonus and tax up 20% to £367.9m, with staff receiving a bonus of 18% of salary.

For the year ending January 29, the eponymous department store chain reported operating profit up 22.2% to £201.1m, while grocer Waitrose reported operating profit up 3% to £274.9m.

John Lewis like-for-like sales were up 10%, and gross sales were up 11.9% to £3.23bn. sales were up 37.9% to £538.2m. This year it will start to cover international locations, initially in Europe, the Nordic countries and Ireland.

John Lewis said all areas of the business traded well, and continue to gain market share, with fashion up 14.7%, home by 12.3% and electricals and home technology up 8.4%.

The partnership’s gross sales were up 10.6% to £8.21bn, and group operating profit was up 10.6% to £431m.

John Lewis Partnership chairman Charlie Mayfield said: “The partnership has achieved market-beating sales growth and a healthy increase in profits.

“It’s the result of our 76,500 partners’ determination to give customers the best possible shopping experience. We have renewed our commitment in both Waitrose and John Lewis to improving the value we offer to customers and broader ranges and innovative marketing have attracted more customers and boosted our market share.”

He said the partnership has established itself as “a leader in multichannel retailing”. He said: “Our investment over many years in and our growing presence in Waitrose Deliver together with our supply relationship with Ocado, have brought our offer to more people in more parts of the country and these initiatives have been at the forefront of our growth and innovation.

“We have made great progress this year in combining our John Lewis online operations with our shops to offer our customers greater choice and flexibility. We are trialling new formats such as ‘John Lewis at home’ and Waitrose convenience and the results are encouraging.”

In the five weeks of the current financial year, gross sales are up 6.5%. John Lewis sales were up 2.3% or 0.5% like for like.

The retailer expects trading conditions to be more difficult this year. Mayfield said: “Input cost price inflation is also a continuing threat but we are not yet seeing the level of inflation in our prices that is widely quoted.” He said there are two reasons for this - some inflationary pressures are being absorbed by the retailer, and customers are increasingly able to shop across ranges to manage spending.

During the year, John Lewis opened three stores, and extended its Never Knowingly Undersold promise to online.

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