The John Lewis Partnership saw profits plummet by 23% to £123m for the year ended 25 January 2020, resulting in the lowest staff bonus seen in 67 years at only 2%.
The group said the performance was “weaker” than it had hoped for, driven by “significantly reduced profitability” in John Lewis. Despite a “solid” performance in Waitrose, it is the third year of declining profit across the John Lewis Partnership as a whole.
It added that during the year, it saw a one-off reduction in the value of John Lewis shops of £123m, principally as a result of stores “playing less of a role” in driving online purchases.
The group also revealed plans to close three Waitrose stores later this year at Helensburgh, Four Oaks and Waterlooville, putting almost 400 jobs at risk. It comes after the group reviewed Waitrose stores that were “no longer viable”.
John Lewis said these decisions are “never taken lightly” and said all staff who wish to stay in the partnership will be “actively supported to do so”.
Sharon White, partner and chairman, said: “We need to reverse our profit decline and return to growth so that we can invest more in our customers and in our partners.
“This will require a transformation in how we operate as a partnership and could take three to five years to show results. We are stepping into a vital new phase for the Partnership and I have no doubt we will come through it stronger.”