John Lewis’ pre-tax profits fall

John Lewis Partnership has reported a 26.6% drop in pre-tax profit amid “difficult trading conditions”. The retailer, which also owns Waitrose, has seen profits fall by £38.8m to £107.3m over the six months to July 26.

Operating profit at the John Lewis department stores dipped 34.4% to £40m against sales of £1.24bn, down 1% on a like-for-like basis.

Fashion sales at the store, which next week will launch its biggest ever fashion advertising campaign featuring supermodel Karen Elson, grew by 5%.

However, gains in clothing sales were offset by a 5% dip in homewares and furniture, which the group says reflects “the decline in the housing sector”.

Waitrose registered an 8.4% slump in operating profit, down to £102.7m, although this figure includes the impact of property gains, which were higher in 2007.

The fall in profit came despite a bump in total sales, up 5.5% to £2.03bn, and a 2.5% rise in like-for-like food sales.

Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, says its first half performance reflects an economic climate that has become “progressively more difficult”, with consumer confidence falling and the retail market slowing.

He adds that the outlook “remains challenging” but that the product offering across John Lewis and Waitrose would stand it in good stead to benefit when consumer confidence returns.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here