Group facing tough trading conditions

John Lewis warns of slump in profits due to pension charges

John LewisJohn Lewis Partnership has warned that higher pension charges and a challenging trading environment could see its profits for the year dented by up to a fifth.

The department store and Waitrose chain said a £60 million pension charge led to a 26% slump in first half pretax profit before exceptional items to £96.7 million.

It means full-year pretax profit before bonus and exceptional items will now be between £270m and £320m against £342.7m last year.

Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of John Lewis Partnership, said: “This has been a solid first half for the Partnership in a difficult market. 

“Both Waitrose and John Lewis are growing sales and increasing market share.

“Excluding [exceptionals] our profits were broadly level with last year, despite the turmoil in the grocery market.  That reflects tight management of costs and the steps we have taken to strengthen the appeal of our trading brands, where we have seen an encouraging increase in the number of customers shopping with us.”

The company said in a statement: “Black Friday and Christmas will again be defined by the importance of logistics and operational excellence, coupled with ensuring our shops remain the “must visit” destination on the high street. We go into the second half with confidence in both our ability to deliver outstanding customer service and in our strongest-ever product assortment.”

Andrew Murphy, former Aberdeen and Edinburgh store manager and chairman of the Scottish Retail Consortium, was this week elevated to a newly-created post in a top level shake-up.



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