John Lewis in growth plan as profit lifts

THE chairman of the John Lewis Partnership (JLP) yesterday said he planned to more than double the size of the company in the next ten years as the retailer unveiled bumper results.

John Lewis saw profits rise by 20 per cent to £367.9m last year.

Like-for-like sales across the John Lewis Group – which includes its supermarket chain Waitrose as well as its department stores –?rose 0.6 per cent to £8.21bn.

Staff will share a bonus pot of £194.5m –?up 28 per cent on the previous year. The bonus will be the equivalent of around nine weeks’ pay.

Chairman Charlie Mayfield said: “We continually demonstrate that our model isn’t just a nicer way of doing business, it is a better way.

“We have doubled in size in the last ten years and think we can do that again and more.”

He said the company was planning to pump £600m into the business to fund the expansion plan.

However, the company warned that 2011 would be tough with the VAT rise and tough consumer environment taking its toll.

Mayfield added: “We are in a very competitive market, we are extremely aware of that. Our answer is to stay ahead by increasing the scale of our investment.”

“I am not complacent about it. What we can’t say is that we have a right to exist as we do. We are as good as our results.”

JLP created 4,100 jobs in the last financial year and expects to create another 4,300 this year. Like-for-like sales at the firm’s 28 department stores rose 10 per cent.

At Waitrose, sales were also up by 10 per cent to £442m, with profit up three per cent to £8m.