John Lewis sales up one per cent in full-year results

Net sales hit £2.79 billion for 2011/12, while net profit falls 20.4 per cent to £157.9m.
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The annual report and accounts 2012 shows that the retailer saw like-for-like net sales fall 0.6 per cent.

Meanwhile, Johnlewis.com sales were up considerably by 24.2 per cent, or £111.2m. At the year end, the retailer's Click & collect service was available in all 35 John Lewis shops and 94 Waitrose branches, and is the fastest growing fulfilment route.

John Lewis also reported that shopping by mobile phone is growing rapidly and currently two thirds of the shops have free WiFi to enable customers to check prices as they shop.

The retailer also said that profit was impacted by a change in pension allocation, while an additional £23.8m was invested in Never Knowingly Undersold - John Lewis' decision to ensure there was absolutely no compromise on quality, service or value.

The opening of a new department store in Stratford City and two ‘at home’ stores in Tamworth and Chester also impacted profit in the short term through higher opening costs and lower profitability on immature space.

Chairman, Charlie Mayfield, commented: "We have achieved a good sales performance in a tough year for the economy. Profits are lower than last year, but better than expected.

"Profound changes are taking place in the retail sector and importantly this was a year when we upped the pace of innovation and investment. That came at the price of some short-term profit but leaves us in a good place at the start of this year.

"Pretty much anything can now be sold online, and our ability to originate and source unique products that our customers want and only we can sell will become more and more important.

"Customers also want more convenience from shops and online and we pushed on with growth, opening more shops in a single year than ever before with 29 Waitrose shops and three for John Lewis."

Looking forward to the coming year, Mayfield added: "Current trading conditions are still difficult and consumer confidence remains subdued. Despite that we are continuing to grow faster than the market. We are prepared and have shown that we can trade well through these conditions.

"The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will provide a lift for consumers and I am cautiously optimistic that trading conditions may improve later this year."

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