The John Lewis Partnership enjoyed a 3% increase in sales and a 7.2% hike in pre-tax profit in the year to January 31 2009, the company announced this morning.
Turnover rose to £6.97bn, although operating profit was down 18% at £323.5m. Profit before tax and Partnership bonus was £407m – partners will receive 13% of their salaries in bonus.
At John Lewis, sales were down just 0.1% to £2.81bn, although sales in home-related categories were down significantly as a result of the collapse in the housing market. Like-for-like sales fell 3.4%, although John Lewis Direct sales enjoyed a 24.2% boost to £332.9m.
Operating profit at John Lewis was down 26.8% to £146m.
Meanwhile, Waitrose pushed sales up 5.2% to just over £4bn, with like-for-like growth 0.4%. Operating profit fell 5.7% to £214.6m.
The Partnership said that it had been “a very tough year”, and warned that the difficult conditions would continue, “with ongoing pressures on consumer spend and low consumer confidence. As a result, we anticipate that price competition will be as intense as last year,” it said.
In the first five weeks, Partnership sales are 1.6% lower than last year, with John Lewis 6.8% down on last year – 8.8% down on a like-for-like basis.