John Lewis profits from big rise in half-year sales

John Lewis John Lewis said it benefited from the Diamond Jubilee long weekend.

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John Lewis has reported a big rise in half-year profits after strong sales growth at both its department stores and the Waitrose supermarket chain.

The retail partnership made a pre-tax profit of £144.5m in the six months to 28 July, up 60% from a year earlier.

Like-for-like sales at the John Lewis department stores - which excludes any new openings - were up 9.2%. Those at Waitrose rose by 2.2%.

It said one-off factors including the Diamond Jubilee had boosted sales.

John Lewis added that sales had also been helped by the build up to the Olympics.

Total half-year revenues across the partnership were £3.9bn, up 9% from a year earlier.

Charlie Mayfield, chairman of John Lewis, said that for the year ahead "consumer demand remains fragile, but has stabilised and we continue to see opportunities to grow market share".

Its results come a week after the British Retail Consortium said that UK retail sales fell 0.4% in August due to the popularity of the Olympics, which led to few people going shopping.

The most recent official figures showed that retail sales rose by 0.3% in July, when compared with June, and by 2.8% from a year earlier.

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