John Lewis Partnership maintains profit guidance after strong Christmas
John Lewis Partnership, owner of Britain's biggest department store chain and upmarket grocer Waitrose, maintained its full-year profit guidance after reporting relatively strong Christmas trading.
The employee-owned firm said on Wednesday total sales across the group rose 4.1pc to £1.81bn (€2.47bn) in the six weeks to January 2.
The solid update contrasts with the weak statement from clothing retailer Next, which kicked off the post-Christmas reporting season on Tuesday with a disappointing statement.
It blamed Britain's unusually warm weather in November and December for a slowdown in sales growth.
At John Lewis, the department store arm was the better performer with gross sales up 6.9pc to £951.3m, with sales at stores open over a year up 5.1pc.
Waitrose's gross sales, excluding fuel, were £859.8m, up 1.2pc compared with last year and down 1.4pc on a like-for-like basis.
The Partnership has outperformed rivals for the last six years, helped by a strong online offering, modern stores and a bias to the more prosperous south east of England.
"This has been a strong Christmas trading period for the Partnership despite the non-food market seeing significant shifts in trade patterns and the grocery market continuing to be challenging," said Chairman Charlie Mayfield.
The Partnership said expectations for profit before partnership bonus, tax and exceptionals for the year ending 30 January 2016 remains unchanged at between £270m and £320m versus £342.7m last year.