John Lewis and Waitrose staff will not get a bonus this year as the retail group fell £234m into the red – worse than expected and its second ever full-year loss.

The group said it made a pre-tax loss of £78m, compared with analysts’ expectations of £50m, but write-downs of the value of Waitrise stores after poor trading took the loss much higher.

Sharon White, the chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, warned of job losses to come as she said profits had been hit by a £180m rise in costs driven by higher commodity prices, energy bills and staff wages.

Sales for the group fell 2% to £12.25bn as strong sales at the its department store chain only partly offset a 3% fall in sales at Waitrose. White said Waitrose had attracted 800,000 more customers but each had spent less.

She said the group was responding to its difficulties by tripling its target for cost savings to £900m by January 2026. “The mantra for the year is cost out, margins up and customer focus,” she said.

The figures were published a day after the parent group of John Lewis and Waitrose appointed the former Hovis boss Nish Kankiwala as its first group chief executive as it struggles to turn around the business amid rising costs.

The boss of its department store chain, Pippa Wicks, left unexpectedly, last month to be replaced by the retail director, Naomi Simcock, while the boss of Waitrose, James Bailey, is under pressure after sales slid at the supermarket chain amid the cost of living crisis.

Source: the guardian

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