March 8, 2018 / 9:53 AM / 7 months ago

UK's John Lewis says annual profit hit by competitive pressures​

LONDON, March 8 (Reuters) - British retailer John Lewis Partnership reported a 22 percent fall in annual profit as competitive pressure at its supermarket chain Waitrose hurt margins, and it warned that difficult conditions could hit 2018/19 profits.

The employee-owned retailer said its staff, known as partners, would receive a bonus of 5 percent, down from the 6 percent they received last year.

For the year ended Jan. 27, John Lewis Partnership, which runs eponymous department stores as well as Waitrose, said its profit before partnership bonus, tax and exceptional items plunged 22 percent to 289.2 million pounds ($401 million).

Gross sales for the full-year period were 2 percent higher at 11.6 billion pounds, the retailer said, adding that the outlook for 2018/19 remained difficult.

“We expect trading to be volatile in 2018/19, with continuing economic uncertainty and no let up in competitive intensity. We therefore anticipate further pressure on profits,” John Lewis said in its statement on Thursday. ($1 = 0.7206 pounds) (Reporting by Sarah Young Editing by Alistair Smout)

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