Mayfield: challenging year ahead
Bonuses cut as John Lewis profits plummet 45%
Staff bonuses are the lowest since 1954
A downturn in high street sales has seen the annual profits at the John Lewis Partnership fall by more than 45% to £160 million.
As a consequence, bonuses paid to its 83,900 workers were the lowest for 65 years, 3% compared to 5% 12 months ago.
Chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield conceded it had been a “challenging year” after the retail group, which includes the John Lewis department stores and Waitrose supermarkets, posted its figures for the year to the end of January.
Profits plummeted 45.4% to £160m, gross sales rose 1% to £11.7bn with John Lewis sales up 0.7% and Waitrose up 1.2%. Pre-tax profits went up 9.2% to £117.4m after exceptional income of £2.1m.
Llike-for-like sales at John Lewis dropped 1.4%, reflecting weak sales in the homeware department. Waitrose saw like-for-like sales increase 1.3% on the back of new product releases, including vegetarian and vegan ranges.
Sir Charlie Mayfield, who is stepping down next year after 11 years, added: “The market context continues to be challenging.
“That’s evident in our results, especially in John Lewis & Partners, where we saw near-constant discounting across many categories from October onwards in response to the combination of subdued demand, excess retail space and some other retailers’ distress.
“We expect 2019 trading conditions to remain challenging but are confident in our strategic direction and customer offer across both brands.”