John Lewis FY profits tumble 77%

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However, John Lewis said its department stores fared better with operating profit before exceptional items up 4.5 percent, helped by stronger fashion and electrical sales.

The John Lewis Partnership has announced a 77% drop in annual profits and has cut the annual bonus given to staff.

'The number of partners will come down as a outcome of that'.

Staff still on board after the latest round of redundancies will be handed a bonus of five per cent of annual salary, with 85,500 partners sharing out a pot worth £74 million, down from £89.4 million the previous year.

"We said in January 2017 that we were preparing for tougher trading conditions with weakness in sterling feeding through into cost prices, putting pressure on margin, and much higher exceptional costs as a result of an acceleration of planned changes", partnership chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield said.

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Following a profit warning in January, Sir Mayfield said the business chose to reduce the proportion of profits paid as Partnership Bonus past year in a bid to absorb the impact of tougher trading conditions.

He also cautioned that the group expects "further pressure on profits" over the year ahead amid volatile trading.

John Lewis Partnership, which is owned by the employees of the two retail chains, had already warned in January that annual profits would be hit amid attempts to remain competitive despite facing cost pressures from the weak pound.

Sir Charlie added that sales at its department stores had been "significantly impacted" by last week's snow.

Waitrose sales rose 1.8% to £6.75bn, up 1.8%, with sales at established stores, excluding fuel, up by 0.9%.

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The company's John Lewis store chain recorded gross sales of GBP4.84 billion in the period, up 2.2%, and Waitrose supermarkets recorded 1.8% growth in sales to GBP6.75 billion.

Overall partnership results were hit by £73m in restructuring and redundancy costs plus a £39m write-down in the value of Waitrose branches.

The upmarket supermarket posted a 32.1% decline in operating profit to £172 million.

"However, their hard work throughout the year was key to delivering gross sales of £11.6bn, up 2%, with like-for-like increases in both Waitrose and John Lewis".

Against a "backdrop of a challenging market", Home sales were down 0.8%.

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