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Online sales do the business at John Lewis Partnership

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Waitrose Deliver’s online grocery sales rose by 54% in the first six months of its financial year, the John Lewis Partnership said today.

Publishing its first-half results, the partnership, which owns both John Lewis and supermarket Waitrose, said the service was now available in 133 branches. Waitrose Deliver is widely seen as a challenger to online grocer Ocado, which delivers primarily Waitrose goods.

At John Lewis, meanwhile, a 36.1% rise in online sales was “at the heart of John Lewis’ performance,” said chairman Charlie Mayfield.

John Lewis, he said: “has made important progress to unite partners behind this multichannel opportunity and the latest step is the decision to extend ‘Never Knowingly Undersold,’ to johnlewis.com.”

He said John Lewis traded "well ahead of expectations". Johnlewis.com grew at twice the market rate, while there was "excellent growth" in fashion.

The partnership said its investment in multichannel and new formats was now starting to be seen at the operating level. One example of that is its ‘at home’ shop in Poole, a small format shop that offers home furnishing and electricals in store alongside access to the rest of the range through kiosks, which “continues to trade well”. A second branch has opened in Croydon with more planned for this year at Swindon and Tunbridge Wells.

In the half-year to July 31, the John Lewis Partnership said its gross sales rose to £3.8bn, from £3.3bn at the same time last year, while pre-tax profits rose to £111.2m, from £87m last time.

In the first six weeks of the second half of the year, sales across the partnership are 9.9% higher than last year. Waitrose sales are up by 8.9%, or 3.9% on a like-for-like basis, while John Lewis are 11.7% gross, and 8.8% like-for-like.

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