John Lewis Partnership to award cost of living payment to staff as it reports first half loss
The John Lewis Partnership has announced that it will give its staff a one-off payment and free food over the winter in response to the cost of living crisis.
The news came as the owner of John Lewis department store and Waitrose supermarket announced it had plunged into a £99million first-half loss.
The partnership said it was making an active choice to spend £45million to help staff. This will include the free food offer for 14 weeks during the winter. Payment will be £500 for full-time partners, but less for part-time partners.
In a letter to staff, John Lewis chairman Sharon White said: “I know partners across the business are really feeling it, after two difficult years of the pandemic and a necessary – but difficult – restructuring. A big thank you to all for your continued commitment in these times of uncertainty. I know it hasn’t been easy.
“We are responding to the cost of living crisis by supporting those in need and strengthening our efficiency program. We forego profit by making choices based on the type of business we are, guided by our purpose – “Working in Partnership for a Happier World” – by helping our partners, customers, communities and suppliers.
John Lewis Partnership said it recorded a loss of £99 million in the first half, or £92 million before exceptional costs, largely due to the combination of cost inflation not fully passed on to customers and the impact of the cost of living crisis. The loss was also attributed to the unwinding of Covid shopping habits and investments to support partners, customers and suppliers.
Waitrose’s sales were £3.6bn in the period, which marked a 5% like-for-like decline from a year ago. However, sales increased by 7% on a like-for-like basis compared to the previous three years.
Meanwhile. John Lewis achieved sales of £2.1bn, marking a like-for-like rise of 3% from last year and a 13% increase from three years ago.
Looking ahead, the partnership said the outlook is uncertain and a successful Christmas will be key given the first half results.
White added: “Time and time again we have been tested as a partnership. We have always emerged – and stronger – being aware of the challenges but also open to new opportunities. We will do it again.
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