John Lewis Partnership Christmas trading were down 1.8%

John Lewis warns it may not pay staff bonus

The Partnership, which runs department stores and up-market supermarket Waitrose, said profit before exceptionals would be "significantly" lower than a year ago, with earnings from the general stores "substantially" down. Gross sales for the business were £1,134m, down 2.3% on past year and down 2% on a like-for-like basis.

Gross sales at John Lewis Partnership were down 1.8% year-on-year to £2,167m with its John Lewis division seeing gross sales fall 2.3% year-on-year to £1.13 bn - a drop of 2% on a like-for-like basis.

The last time the Partnership did not pay a bonus was in 1953.

The company also announced that Paula Nickolds, now the managing director of John Lewis & Partners, will step down from the board and will be leaving the Partnership in February 2020. Meanwhile, online sales increased, with Waitrose reporting online grocery orders up 23.4% in the seven days to Christmas.

Upmarket UK grocer Waitrose & Partners has posted a 0.4% increase in like-for-like sales in the seven weeks to 4 January.

Sales were down across the board at the John Lewis Partnership, which also includes Waitrose and Partners, with a 1.8 per cent slump reflecting sales of £2.167billion.

John Lewis today faces the biggest crisis in its 156-year history. Because of it, John Lewis has to follow where the likes of struggling House of Fraser and Debenhams go with their discount bonanza.

It enjoyed strong growth in beauty sales, a flat performance in fashion and weak demand for home sales and electricals. "We therefore expect that partnership profit before exceptionals will be significantly lower than previous year".

The company added, "after some reflection on the responsibilities of her proposed new role, we have decided together that the implementation of the Future Partnership structure in February is the right time for her to move on". "The exit of JLP lifers and a disappointing Christmas performance mean that the partnership may neglect to pay out its infamous staff bonus for the first time in 67 years".

"The decision will be influenced by our level of profitability, planned investment and maintaining the strength of our balance sheet".

"Paula has been a brilliant leader of this business for many years", said Sir Charlie.



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