JOHN LEWIS department stores have racked up another big jump in profits as they offset a much weaker performance from Waitrose supermarkets.
The retail businesses are both part of the John Lewis Partnership, which lifted profits by 12.1 per cent to £129.8m for the six months to July 26.
Operating profits in John Lewis department stores rose by 62 per cent to £56.3m in the period, helped by strong growth in the higher margin home category and a continued surge in online sales.
At Waitrose, profits fell nine per cent to £145.2m as a result of higher investment in branches and the impact of challenging trading conditions.
The supermarket, which has been matching Tesco’s prices on branded products as well as Sainsbury’s on own-label items, said it outperformed the market over the period.
Partnership chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield said: “The outlook in the grocery sector remains challenging and we expect that to continue to be the case for some time.”
In the first six weeks of the second half, Waitrose sales were ahead by 0.9 per cent on a like-for-like basis, with the figure for the department stores up 9.7 per cent.
The group said its new John Lewis in York is performing well.
Robert Garnish, branch manager at John Lewis York, said: “Trade in York continues to be ahead of our expectations and has been strong across the branch.
“It has also been particularly pleasing to be able to draw customers from across the county –from Wakefield in the south, Halifax and Huddersfield in the west and Northallerton and Teesside to the north.
“In fashion we have seen a cross-section of branded assortment sell well with some particular highlights in womenswear, women’s shoes and menswear. Own brand ranges in womenswear have also been extremely sought after.”
James Prince, head of branch at John Lewis Sheffield, said: “We’ve seen some really strong performances within fashion, particularly men’s brands where Ted Baker and Joules continue to perform buoyantly, alongside own brands JL & Co and Kin.
“Mobile technology has driven customer demand for tablets and Smart TVs. Moving into the second half we expect strong results as we unveil our refurbished beauty departments.”