Brexit blamed as prof­its at John Lewis hit by weak pound

The Irish Times - Business - - NEWS -

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.

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