John Lewis Partnership narrows losses despite cost hit from closures including Aberdeen

Department store and Waitrose supermarket operator John Lewis Partnership (JLP) has narrowed its losses despite taking a £54 million hit from major restructuring and redundancies.

The retail giant unveiled a £29m pre-tax loss for the half-year to the end of July, representing a significant improvement from the £635m loss it posted for the same period a year earlier.

JLP's chairman, Sharon White, said the deficit was better than the group's expectations as it was helped by a jump in sales.

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The group, which operates the John Lewis department store chain and Waitrose supermarket business, said total sales rose 6 per cent to £5.87 billion.

John Lewis has department stores in Glasgow, above, and Edinburgh but has closed its Aberdeen branch. Picture: John Devlin

However, this was significantly offset by the cost of eight more department store closures, including its Aberdeen branch, and more than 1,000 redundancies.

In a letter to the group’s staff, or “partners”, White said: "We have begun the financial year with profits recovering, ahead of both last year and expectations set at our year-end results.

"Traditionally, our profits are skewed to the second half of the year because of the importance of Christmas, especially in John Lewis.

"As we look ahead, there is significant uncertainty. Like the whole of retail, we are managing global supply chain challenges and labour shortages. We are seeing inflationary pressures, which we expect to persist.

"We are taking a raft of measures to mitigate these risks and deliver Christmas for our customers."

The group said it has taken measures to avoid disruption to the crucial festive shopping period, including plans announced earlier this week to hire 7,000 temporary staff.

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