John Lewis Returns To Profit But Warns Of Uncertainty Ahead

By Donna Ahern
John Lewis Returns To Profit But Warns Of Uncertainty Ahead

British retailer, the John Lewis Partnership, on Thursday reported a return to first half profit after a COVID-pandemic hit loss last year but warned of "significant uncertainty" ahead.

The employee-owned group, which runs John Lewis department stores and upmarket supermarket chain Waitrose, said that like the rest of the UK retail industry it was having to manage global supply chain challenges and labour shortages.

It was also seeing inflationary pressures, which it expects to persist.

Mitigate Risks

The group said it is taking a raft of measures to mitigate these risks and deliver Christmas for customers.


These include a campaign to recruit more full time drivers, recruiting 7,000 temporary seasonal workers and booking additional freight to make sure Christmas products arrive on time.

The group made a first half profit before exceptional items of £69 million ($95 million), versus a loss of £55 million in the same period last year, helped by 66 million pounds of cost savings and government business rates relief of £58 million.

"We have faced our biggest ever test and we will come through stronger," said Chairman Sharon White

Last October she set out a five-year recovery plan that involves investing £1 billion to expand the partnership's online business and improve its stores, diversify beyond retail and seek more partnerships.

The plan, which is also seeking efficiency savings of £300 million a year by 2022, targets profit of £400 million by year five.

News by Reuters edited by Donna Ahern Checkout. For more Retail stories click here. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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