John Lewis Partnership has reported pre-tax profits up 18.7 per cent to £379.8 million in its full-year results, but expects trading conditions to remain challenging this year.

For the year to January 26, the group reported sales up 6.3 per cent to£6.8 billion.

Total sales at John Lewis were up 5.6 per cent to£2.8 billion and like-for-like sales rose 5 per cent.

Total sales growth slowed in the second half, dropping back to 5.2 per cent, compared with 6.1 per cent in the first half.

Total sales at Waitrose were up 6.8 per cent to just under£4 billion and like-for-like sales (excluding petrol) were up 3.6 per cent.

John Lewis Partnership chairman Charlie Mayfield said: “The partnership has had a successful year in a challenging trading environment. The key to our success is the commitment of our partners, who consistently deliver the customer service and professionalism that underpins our reputation for value, choice, quality and honesty.

“While we expect trading conditions to continue to be challenging in the year ahead, we are confident that the diversity of our business and our partnership model makes us resilient and able to perform well, even in the most testing market conditions. We are committed to the growth plans for our business and I am confident that we can deliver our long-term plans.”

Every partner will receive a partnership bonus worth 20 per cent of their salary, the equivalent of 10 weeks’ pay, amounting to a total of£181.1 million.

Growth in John Lewis came mainly from three product categories: electrical and home technology, up 6 per cent, home, up 5.5 per cent and fashion, up 4.6 per cent. John Lewis Direct sales rose 44.6 per cent.

The group said the general slowdown in the second half of the year has continued into the new financial year. Sales for the first five weeks of the year to March 1 are up 2 per cent year on year at John Lewis, while Waitrose is proving more resilient, with sales up 8 per cent year on year.