• H1 profit fell 26% to GBP96m (US$148m)
  • Like-for-like sales up 3% at John Lewis stores
  • Promotes Andrew Murphy as new group productivity director

Retailer John Lewis Partnership has reshuffled its senior management team – including the addition of the new role of group productivity director – as it booked a 26% drop in first half profits.

The retailer, which operates the John Lewis department stores, which sell fashion and homewares, and the Waitrose supermarket chain, said profit fell to GBP96m (US$148m) in the six months to 1 August – mainly due to higher pensions charges and profits from property sales in the comparable period last year.

Group revenue rose 1.9% to GBP4.5bn, and while like-for-like sales fell 1.3% at Waitrose – the first fall in seven years – this was offset by 3.0% growth in sales at the department stores.

Separately, the retailer said it has promoted its retail director Andrew Murphy to take up the newly created post of group productivity director. The role is focused on developing new ideas to boost the performance of the department store chain.

Other changes will see Mark Lewis, online director at John Lewis, become retail director? with responsibility for both shop and online operations; Paula Nickolds, buying and brand director at John Lewis, is being promoted to commercial director?; and Dino Rocos, operations director at John Lewis, will assume additional responsibilities for omnichannel.?

“The rapid rate of change in retail is set to continue and therefore the time is right for us to develop the thinking that will help sustain the Partnership in the next generation,” said chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield.

While John Lewis managing director Andy Street, added: “These important changes to the John Lewis management board place the customer at the heart of our decision making. The new John Lewis Board composition will ensure we continue to lead omnichannel retailing in the UK.”