Profits at John Lewis Partnership have fallen by £20 million to £90 million, despite a £244 million increase in sales to £4.05 billion for the six months to the end of July.
The group, which owns the John Lewis department and Waitrose food stores, including stores in Sheffield, created 1,100 jobs as investment in new branches, formats and concepts rose by £99 million to £254 million.
Chairman Charlie Mayfield said: “The Partnership has made good progress in the first half. Sales grew strongly although, as expected, profits were lower than in the same period in 2010 as we accelerated investment in our future growth plans, even though conditions remained extremely challenging.”
Mr Mayfield says trading conditions will remain challenging for the rest of this year and into 2012.
“We are not simply waiting for the recovery, but instead we have increased the pace of investment and innovation across the Partnership putting us in the best possible position to seize the opportunity created by a rapidly changing retail environment.
“Our momentum is strong and I am confident we will build on that in the second half,” Mr Mayfield added.
The John Lewis Partnership operates 33 John Lewis shops across the UK and 264 Waitrose supermarkets. The company’s 76,500 staff are Partners in the business, making it the largest example of worker co-ownership in the UK.