The John Lewis Partnership has delivered profit before bonus, tax and exceptional items up by almost 10% and has awarded staff a 15% bonus.
For the year to January 25, the partnership – comprising John Lewis and Waitrose – reported sales up 6.6% to £9bn, with John Lewis sales up 7.4% to £3.27bn and Waitrose sales up 6.2% to £5.75bn.
John Lewis operating profit was up 4.3% to £226.1m and Waitrose operating profit was up 6.1% to £310.1m.
The Partnership’s pre-tax profit was down 4.1% after exceptionals to £329.1m but up 9.6% before exceptionals to £376.4m. One exceptional item was £47.3m following a review of its holiday pay policy. It also set aside exceptionals for future pension liabilities.
Last year staff received a 17% bonus.
John Lewis total like-for-likes were up 6.4%, and Waitrose like-for-likes were up 5.1%. John Lewis reported home sales up 2.3%, fashion sales up 5%, and electricals and home technology up 15.5%. Johnlewis.com sales were up 19.2% to £1.1bn and Waitrose online sales were up 41.4%.
John Lewis Partnership chairman Charlie Mayfield said: “This has been another good year for the Partnership. Both Waitrose and John Lewis increased market share for the fifth consecutive year, profit before exceptionals has grown by almost 10% and, for the first time, we have achieved sales of over £10bn.
“As a result of our performance, I am delighted that 91,000 Partners will receive a Bonus of 15%, equivalent to nearly eight weeks’ pay. The bonus reflects the balance of a strong trading year, but also the increased costs of pension provision. The exceptional costs of £47m, relating to holiday pay premiums (announced in August), did not affect the bonus percentage.
“Our ownership by Partners has played a key role in these results. There are fundamental changes taking place in retail, especially in customer attitudes towards value, convenience and personalisation. For several years we have been adapting our business to take advantage of these changes. That has required high levels of investment, organisational change and new capabilities. The level of change has at times been challenging, but Partners have understood and embraced the need for their business to continue to develop.”
Mayfield said the current year has started well, with gross sales up 5.3% versus last year after five weeks. Waitrose gross sales have increased by 5.1% and John Lewis gross sales are 5.7% higher.
Mayfield said: “There are more encouraging signs for the economy as a whole and, although this has not yet come through as a significant increase in consumer spending, I am cautiously optimistic that we will see improvements this year. I am confident that however quickly the UK economy emerges from this prolonged period of slow growth, the Partnership is well positioned to continue to strengthen its competitive position and to grow market share in both Waitrose and John Lewis.”