13 September 2012 10:15
The John Lewis Partnership posted a 60% jump in pre-tax profits today as Britain's summer of events helped the group's department stores and grocery chain weather the economic downturn.
The employee-owned partnership, which has 37 John Lewis stores and 284 Waitrose supermarkets, also credited strong online growth for an 8.6% rise in revenues to £3.9 billion and profits of £144.5 million in the six months to July 28th.
As the official department store of London 2012, the group has benefited from sales linked to the Olympics and Paralympics, as well as the Diamond Jubilee. The stores group also picked up business from the launch of new technology, such as Apple's iPad and the switchover to digital television, whilst the group's multi-channel strategy made a "vital contribution" across both John Lewis and Waitrose.
Today's performance represents a strong recovery from the previous financial year, when the group's price-match promise triggered the first profits fall since 2009 and a cut in the staff bonus from 18% to 14% of salary.
Charlie Mayfield, chairman of John Lewis Partnership, commented: "Consumer demand remains fragile, but has stabilised and we continue to see opportunities to grow market share. We have seen a good start to the second half. After 6 weeks, Partnership gross sales are 10.3% higher than last year. Waitrose gross sales have increased by 8.7% (4.5% like-for-like) and John Lewis gross sales are 13.1% higher than last year (8.5% like-for-like).
"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."