Profits rocket 25 per cent
John Lewis Partnership (JLP) has posted strong sales in the first half, with pre-tax profits jumping 25 per cent to£97 million against difficult trading conditions.

JLP, which owns Waitrose supermarkets as well as the eponymous department stores chain, revealed group sales increased 11 per cent to£3 billion in the six months to July 29.

John Lewis chairman Sir Stuart Hampson said: 'It will be a challenging second half to the year, but I remain confident we will continue to improve on last year's performance.'

Sales through John Lewis department stores and direct channels reached£1.2 billion in the first six months of the year - a like-for-like increase of 9 per cent. Waitrose sales rose 11 per cent to£1.8 billion overall and 5 per cent on a like-for-like basis.

At the department store chain, sales of electricals and technology performed well over the period, up 27 per cent. Own-branded and branded fashion sales increased 8 per cent and sales at John Lewis Direct jumped 70 per cent.

The group said a differentiated offer, product innovation and volume growth at Waitrose helped boost the chain's performance.

Six Waitrose stores opened during the period and the group is to invest£50 million in opening a John Lewis department store and Waitrose in Stratford City Olympic development.