Retailer John Lewis has reported strong Xmas sales but warns of volatile year with exchange rate blamed for higher costs and squeezed margins.
Gross sales at the John Lewis Partnership were up 2.5% on last year to £1,962m.
John Lewis store gross sales were £1,034m, up 3.6% versus last year and up 3.1% on a like-for-like basis and significantly outperformed the market by 4.5%2
Black Friday was John Lewis's most successful sales day in its history and contributed to the biggest ever week of sales, up 7.2% year-on-year.
Pressure on margin
Commenting on the latest trading update, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, Sir Charlie Mayfield, said: "The pressure on margin seen in the first half of the year has intensified because of our choice to maintain competitive prices, despite higher costs mainly due to the weaker exchange rate. This will negatively affect full-year financial results as indicated previously.”
He added: “Looking ahead to 2018/19 we expect trading to be volatile due to the economic environment and anticipate that competitive intensity will continue, driven by the structural changes taking place in the retail industry.
“We are well placed to continue building the strength of our two leading brands through these changes and will maintain our current investment plans. Our focus continues to be offering our customers the best range of products and the best value, supported by a market leading service.”