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.

Thursday, 12th September 2019, 11:40 am
Updated Thursday, 12th September 2019, 14:24 pm
John Lewis in Barker's Pool, Sheffield.

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.

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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".