Profits at John Lewis outshine Waitrose

John Lewis department stores have racked up another big jump in profits as they offset a much weaker performance from Waitrose supermarkets.

The retail businesses are both part of the John Lewis Partnership, which today said profits for the six months to 26 July grew by 12.1 per cent to £129.8 million.

Operating profits in John Lewis department stores soared by 62 per cent to £56.3m in the period, helped by strong growth in the higher-margin home category and a continued surge in online sales.

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At Waitrose, profits fell 9 per cent to £145.2m as a result of higher investment in branches and the impact of challenging trading conditions.

The supermarket, which has been matching Tesco’s prices on branded products as well as Sainsbury’s on own-label items, said it outperformed the market over the period.

Partnership chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield said: “The outlook in the grocery sector remains challenging and we expect that to continue to be the case for some time.

“In contrast, trading conditions in the non-food sector are more positive than has been the case for several years.”

In the first six weeks of the second half, Waitrose sales are ahead by 0.9 per cent on a like-for-like basis, with the figure for the department stores up 9.7 per cent.