John Lewis profits soar

John Lewis Partnership's pre-tax profits for the six months to the end of July rose by 50.6 per cent to £146 million, on sales up 6.7pc to £3.2 billion.

Waitrose increased profits by 29.7pc to 140m on like-for -like food sales up by 3.2pc.

John Lewis department stores increased profits by 23.3pc to 97m on like-for-like sales up by 6.4pc.

Chairman Charlie Mayfield said: “The tremendous momentum the Partnership achieved last year has been carried through into the current year with another strong performance.

“In a tougher retail environment the business has shown resilience, with both Waitrose and John Lewis achieving strong sales growth, gaining market share and increasing operating profit.

Mr Mayfield said the group expected market conditions to be much more challenging in the second half of the year, but was confident it would continue to outperform the sector.

He praised the efforts of the group’s staff, known as ‘Partners’ because they share a stake in the business.

The John Lewis Partnership announced last week that it was selling its textile and dyeing business, Stead McAlpin, and its textile weaving subsidiary, JH Birtwistle, to Apex Textiles.

It says both businesses have seen sales decline and have been unprofitable in recent years, despite significant in vestment and restructuring.

The new owners have considerable experience in textile manufacturing.