Strong growth at John Lewis and Waitrose

The John Lewis Partnership has reported “strong” first half performance as sales and profit rise as a result of investment in marketing, store formats and multi-channel operations.

The group, which includes department store chain John Lewis and grocer Waitrose recorded a 12.4% rise in sales to £3.8bn in the half-year to 31 July.

Operating profit increased 15.1% to £145.2m while pre tax profit increased 28% to £110.5m.

John Lewis says that during the period it invested £154.8m in new branches, store formats and concepts including smaller format convenience stores in the Waitrose chain.

Waitrose reported an 11.3% sales increase to £2.4bn and a 3.9% rise in like for like sales, which exclude new stores.

Operating profit at the food business rose 6.2% to £127.8m.

Charlie Mayfield, John Lewis Partnership chairman says performance at Waitrose was boosted by its Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal campaign, strategic partnerships such as its tie up with Boots and new store format trials.

The department store chain John Lewis reported a sales increase of 14.5% to £1.4bn while like for like sales jumped 12.3%.

Operating profit soared 76.8% to £35.9m and the online arm of John Lewis reported 36.1% growth.

Mayfield says: “This has been a strong first half performance by the Partnership. We took decisions during the recession to invest in existing shops, in new formats, in multi-channel and in ’value’ and we are now seeing the benefits coming through.”

He adds that trading conditions for the coming six months will be “more challenging” as higher taxes and public spending cuts affect household spending and put disposable income under pressure.

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