John Lewis first half profits take £50m hit after holiday pay error

Kasmira Jefford
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JOHN LEWIS said yesterday it was looking forward to positive trading in the second half after a review of its holiday pay policy dragged first half profits down 38.5 per cent.

The department store group booked an exceptional £47.3m charge after discovering an error in the way it had calculated pay for Sundays and bank holidays.

Excluding exceptional items, pre-tax profits for Waitrose and John Lewis rose 3.9 per cent to £115.8m.

“The partnership has had a strong first half ... slightly ahead of our expectations due to a good trading performance in both businesses,” chairman Charlie Mayfield said.

“Despite a strong second half last year, both during the Olympics and at Christmas, I expect us to trade positively in the second half.”

Like-for-like sales were up 6.9 per cent at the upmarket Waitrose supermarket chain while like-for-like sales were up 5.1 per cent at the John Lewis department store.