Analysis: What’s gone wrong at John Lewis…and can it be fixed?

John-Lewis-Waitrose

John Lewis Partnership’s half-year results made for a sobering read, as the high street stalwart unveiled the first half-year loss in its history.

The retail group fell into the red in the half-year to July 27, recording a loss before tax, exceptional items and IFRS 16 of £25.9m, compared with a profit of £800,000 the previous year, as operating losses at John Lewis spiralled by £42.5m to £61.8m.

The retailer attributed its overall losses to planned investments in partner pay and IT, as well as subdued consumer confidence stymieing demand for big-ticket items.

John Lewis Partnership chair Sir Charlie Mayfield stresses that the retailer, which reduced its net debts by 16.4% to £2.4bn year on year, had anticipated this consumer spend slowdown.

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