Brexit blamed as profits at John Lewis hit by weak pound
The John Lewis Partnership has bemoaned falling consumer demand and cost increases linked to the Brexit-hit pound as it reported a collapse in half-year profits.
The group, which is behind the eponymous department store chain and posh supermarket Waitrose, saw pretax profits for the six months to the end of July plummet 53.3 per cent to £26.6 million.
The figure includes exceptional items linked to restructuring, property and redundancy costs. Chairman Charlie Mayfield said the group suffered in categories linked to the housing market, which has exhibited a marked slowdown since the EU referendum.
“The first half of this year has seen inflationary pressures driven by exchange rates and political uncertainty,” he said. “These have dampened customer demand, especially in categories connected to the housing market. The exchange rate-driven increase in cost prices has also put pressure on margin.”
Retailers have been among the hardest hit by the decline of the UK currency.