John Lewis falls to £25m loss and says no deal Brexit will have 'significant' impact
The John Lewis Partnership has fallen to a half-year loss – and the retailer says a no-deal Brexit will have a ‘significant’ impact on stores and shoppers.
The firm, which has a flagship store in Sheffield’s Barker’s Pool, has said while it has prepared for no deal, it could not fully offset the effect - and impact on fresh food supplies was a concern.
The group, which also owns Waitrose, reported a loss of £25.9m, down from a profit of £0.8m last year.
Sales slipped amid "difficult" trading conditions, which were not helped by "subdued consumer confidence,” the firm said.
The partnership, which normally makes most of its profits in the second half of the year, said it had been making preparations for a no-deal Brexit, including building up stocks "where that is sensible".
However chairman, Charlie Mayfield, said: "Should the UK leave the EU without a deal, we expect the effect to be significant and it will not be possible to mitigate that impact.
"Brexit continues to weigh on consumer sentiment at a crucial time for the sector as we enter the peak trading period."
"Ultimately, that could have a knock-on impact on profits," he said. "That could be significant."
Meanwhile, sales at Waitrose slipped slightly to £3.4bn in the six months to 27 July.
However, the supermarket chain also reported a 10.7% growth in online sales, which the partnership said was "well ahead of the market".