Business

John Lewis Partnership set to reveal latest progress in revival plan

T

he John Lewis Partnership (JLP) will reveal the firm’s latest progress as the retail giant continues its broad transformation plan.

JLP, which runs the John Lewis department store business and Waitrose grocery chain, is due to unveil its financial results for the half-year to July in an update on Thursday September 15.

It comes amid a period of significant change at the retailer.

On Tuesday, John Lewis revealed a slight shift in identity as it told workers, who are called Partners, that it will replace its “never knowingly undersold” slogan after almost a century.

The company unveiled a new strapline of “for all life’s moments” as the group seeks to broaden and modernise its appeal.

Partners will hope that the change can help drive the retailer’s recent positivity.

The John Lewis department store business cut thousands of jobs and axed stores in 2020 as the pandemic exacerbated pressure already felt by the group.

However, the company sprang back into the black last year, posting a £181 million pre-tax profit in the year to January 2022, as it was boosted by record sales from its department stores.

The profits, which were the firm’s strongest for four years, also led the business to restore its annual bonus for employees ahead of previous expectations.

Partners will be hopeful that this recent trajectory has continued as pandemic restrictions eased further and will be keen to hear guidance on Thursday as to what their bonus might look like come next year.

Retail analyst Nick Bubb said John Lewis looks “well placed” ahead of the update, amid perceived positive trading from its AnyDay range of more affordable products, as customers face rising household bills.

However, he also flagged that “there are doubts about the recent performance of Waitrose”, with recent data from Kantar pointing to lower sales at the upmarket supermarket brand.

Mr Bubb also highlighted that higher costs and the lack of business rates relief could affect profitability.

It comes as John Lewis was among companies to pay tribute to the Queen in a message on Thursday evening.

A John Lewis spokeswoman said: “We are deeply saddened by the death of Her Majesty The Queen.

“She faithfully served the nation as our sovereign during her long, happy and glorious reign.

“We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the royal family.”

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