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John Lewis’ Brexit warning

The John Lewis Partnership has reported a loss of £25.9m its results for the half year ending July 2019. John Lewis & Partners was down £42.5m driven partly by ‘the impact of subdued consumer confidence.’ The latter has affected sales in Home and Electricals in particular, according to the retailer.

In his chairman’s statement, Sir Charlie Mayfield highlighted the importance of differentiation as well as the redesign of its Home offering. The size of the Home design team has grown by 50% over the last 18 months and the department store will launch 3,000 new own-brand products this autumn. It also launches its first ever own-brand Gift Food.

The renewal of John Lewis’ Home ranges will continue amid the “challenging” retail environment, confirms Sir Charlie. He also highlighted ‘the competitive difference of Partners’ and related investments. The retailer is developing its first John Lewis Service Academy.

Recognising that the Partnership is accustomed to making the majority of its profits in the second half of the year, Sir Charlie also delivered a stark Brexit warning, stating: “should the UK leave the EU without a deal, we expect the effect to be significant and it will not be possible to mitigate that impact.”

He continued: “In readiness, we have ensured our financial resilience and taken steps to increase our foreign currency hedging, to build stock where that is sensible, and to improve customs readiness. However, Brexit continues to weigh on consumer sentiment at a crucial time for the sector as we enter the peak trading period.”

Meanwhile, Sharon White is set to become the sixth chairman of the John Lewis Partnership in early 2020.


Top: John Lewis & Partners continues to invest in its partners (part of the team from Cheltenham John Lewis & Partners is pictured).

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