John Lewis cuts losses by 95%

John Lewis has recorded losses of £26 million in 2021, compared to £517 million in the previous year – representing a 95 per cent improvement.

The company announced a rebound of profits before exceptional items to £181 million, up 38 per cent in comparison to 2020.

John Lewis achieved its highest ever sales on record, surging by 8 per cent to £4.93 billion.

Waitrose sales were up one per cent, rising to £7.54 billion during the same period.

Total sales across the partnership hit £12.5 billion, also up by one per cent.
The retailer said it will award a three per cent bonus to partners, equivalent to 1.5 weeks’ pay.

Sharon White, partner and chairman, said a major factor behind the retailer’s profit growth was cutting costs by £170 million.

But she explained that this involved “difficult decisions” like reducing management roles in shops, reducing central teams, closing eight John Lewis stores, and shutting one delivery hub.

“Looking ahead, we see continued uncertainty from global events, affecting the economic environment, our customers, Partners and society,” said White. “As inflation and energy prices rise, our customers face higher living costs.

“While this creates uncertainties as we look ahead, we remain focused on investing in our Partnership Plan to transform and grow our business.”

In 2022/2023 the company plans to invest £119 million in John Lewis shops, digital services and distribution capabilities.

A further £55 million will be spent on 23 major refurbishments of Waitrose stores, while a £72 million investment will go towards digital services and distribution.

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