Department Stores

John Lewis boss steps down amid poor Christmas sales

John Lewis Partnership has announced its managing director, Paula Nickolds, will step down amid “weak” sales over the Christmas period.

Nickolds has worked at the company for 25 years, and will step down from the board in February. The group said she had “played a central role” in a variety of senior positions over the last 10 years.

It comes after gross sales for the partnership declined by 1.8% against last year.  

John Lewis and Partners sales were also down 2.3%, while Waitrose sales decreased by 1.3% due to shop closures over the period.

Chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield said: “In John Lewis and Partners we will reverse the losses incurred in the first half of the year, but profits will be substantially down on last year. We therefore expect that Partnership profit before exceptionals will be significantly lower than last year.”

Due to the “significantly lower” profit, the company now warns that it may not pay its annual bonus this year.

Mayfield added: “The Partnership board will meet in February to decide whether it is prudent to pay a Partnership Bonus. The decision will be influenced by our level of profitability, planned investment and maintaining the strength of our balance sheet.”

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