The parent company of Waitrose, The John Lewis Partnership, has narrowed its losses despite taking a £54 million hit from redundancies.
The group, which operates Waitrose and John Lewis, revealed a £29 million pre-tax loss for the half-year to July 31, representing a significant improvement from the £635 million loss it posted for the same period last year.
Its chairman, Sharon White, said the loss was better than the group’s expectations as it was boosted by a jump in sales.
Total sales also increased by six per cent to £5.87 billion.
However, this was significantly offset by the cost of thousands of redundancies, alongside eight department stores closing.
“We have begun the financial year with profits recovering, ahead of both last year and expectations set at our year-end results,” White said in a letter to partners at the John Lewis Partnership.
“Traditionally, our profits are skewed to the second half of the year because of the importance of Christmas, especially in John Lewis.”
The retail group added that there is significant uncertainty as it tackles “supply chain challenges and labour shortages”.
The partnership added that it is also seeing inflationary pressures which it expects to persist.
The group said it has taken measures to avoid disruption to Christmas shopping, including plans announced on Wednesday to hire 7000 temporary staff.
with PA Wires