Virtual gains help support the expense of physical expansion

 
Marc Sidwell
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JUDGING from these results, one unfortunate legacy of a golden summer for John Lewis is going to be how disappointing its figures seem next time around. The exceptional achievement of a near 60 per cent rise in pre-tax profit also rests on a number of one-off events: a low base for comparison, a Diamond Jubilee and the run-up to the Olympics, of which John Lewis was the official department store.

The Partnership was, however, making its own luck in the first six months of the year as well. Waitrose opened ten new stores in that period, including six Little Waitrose branches, and grew its waitrose.com sales by 50 per cent.

Likewise, johnlewis.com grew sales by 40 per cent and now accounts for over 24 per cent of John Lewis sales. While investing in bricks and mortar also cuts into the prospects of further record gains, an expanding virtual presence, bringing lower costs and larger reach, bodes well.