• Group FY pre-tax profit up 6.5% 
  • John Lewis grow 9.2% to GBP4.43bn
  • Investment in supply chain and systems to continue
John Lewis says it will continue to invest in its supply chain and systems this year

John Lewis says it will continue to invest in its supply chain and systems this year

Investments in supply chain and systems at John Lewis’s namesake business will exceed that in new stores and refurbishment this year, the department store retailer has revealed, after booking full-year profit and sales growth.

The group’s pre-tax profit grew 6.5% to GBP350.6m (US$523.9m) for the 53 weeks to 31 January, compared to the same period last year. Sales increased 7.6% to GBP10.94bn.

Excluding the company's Waitrose supermarket chain, John Lewis department stores saw operating profit before exceptional items increase 10.8% to GBP250.5m. Sales were up 9.2% to GBP4.43bn, while like-for-like sales rose 6.5%.

On a 52 week basis, shop sales were up 2.2%, with like-for-like growth of 0.6%, while online sales grew 21.6% to GBP1.4bn. Fashion had a particularly strong performance, up 8.3%, with growth from nursery at 16.3%, children’s wear at 8.2%, women's accessories at 8.5% and its own-brand Kin range at 46.6%.

Conlumino analyst David Alexander said one of the keys to John Lewis’s success lies in its ability to adapt to changing shopping habits. To this end, he believes the retailer has shown considerable flexibility in its approach to store design and expansion, recently identifying the convenience market as one that offers significant potential for expansion.

While omnichannel capability and innovation remain drivers of growth, the company invested GBP92.5m in its IT and systems in 2014 to deliver changing customer expectations.

John Lewis said it has a “robust” outlook for its namesake business, adding: “Our focus remains on positioning our brand to outperform and our investment in supply chain and systems, which has been growing for some years, will exceed that in new shops and refurbishment for the first time this year.”