John Lewis Partnership has blamed shoppers feeling the “pain of inflation” and a write down in the value of its Waitrose stores for its second year of losses in a row.
For the year ending January, the middle class favourite, which owns John Lewis department stores and grocery chain Waitrose, posted a loss of £234m due to the challenging economic outlook.
As a result, chairman Sharon White told employees that she would be unable to offer a staff bonus, one of the perks of working for the upmarket retail group.
Earlier this week John Lewis drafted in its first chief executive, appointing retail veteran Nish Kankiwala to work closely with the chairman.
However, said that its financial assistance fund will stay at £800k support for travel, childcare and living costs will remain for staff.
Overall, sales for the year fell by 2 per cent to £12.25bn overall and were down 3 per cent at Waitrose.
White described the trading year as “tough” however warned that its balance sheet “remains strong” with the Partnership having access to £1bn of cash and a £420m credit facility.
White said: “Inflation has had a big impact on the Partnership and sent our costs soaring – up almost £180m on last year.
“We haven’t sat on our hands. We’ve been working hard to drive out costs. Negotiating better deals with suppliers and simplifying ranges in both brands.”