John Lewis returns to profit

14th March 2024 | Jack Oliver

The John Lewis Partnership has returned to profitability in the 2023/24 financial year, recording a profit before tax and exceptional items of £42m.

This was an improvement of £120m compared to a loss of £78m recorded the previous financial year. Profit before tax at the retail group was £56m, up from a loss of £234m in 2022/23.

However, for the third time in four years, John Lewis has not awarded a bonus to its members of staff – called ‘partners’ – instead opting to increase overall pay by £116m in 2024, a record investment for the retailer.

Partnership sales also increased year-on-year by £176m to £12.4bn, whilst total revenue was up by 2% to £10.8bn.

John Lewis said its cash generated from operating activities improved by £201m to £433m, mainly due to improved profit. The retailer said this allows it to step up investment in transforming the business, increasing investment levels from £312m this year to £542m in 2024/25.

The group also raised additional funding last December of £260m through a combination of sale and leaseback of 11 Waitrose shops, as well as a new term loan.

At Waitrose, sales increased 5% to £7.7bn, with a trading operating profit of £1,064m improved by £170m. The retailer said it is planning to open new Waitrose shops in areas where the brand is underserved, with 80 refurbishments of existing stores are planned over the next three years.

Sharon White, chair of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “We have made significant progress in the last year to return the business to profitability and delivered results that allow us to increase investment in our retail businesses; we expect profits to grow further this year.

“This shows our plan is working, while we know there’s much more to do. Our improved performance has been supported by our customers’ love for both brands, with more people choosing to shop with us than ever before, and our partners’ commitment to delivering excellent customer service.

“This year we will unashamedly focus on investing back into our retail businesses for our customers, including opening new Waitrose shops and continuing to modernise our brand offering in John Lewis, while prioritising pay for our partners.”

Last autumn, the partnership said it expected its recovery to take longer than anticipated, pushing back its plan to return to profit to 2028.


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