January 12, 2017 / 8:17 AM / a year ago

Britain's John Lewis to ramp up investment to meet online demand

LONDON, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Britain’s biggest department store John Lewis said it would invest heavily in its business this year in response to the accelerating shift to online shopping, after it reported a 2.7 percent rise in underlying Christmas sales.

The John Lewis Partnership, which also owns the upmarket Waitrose supermarket, said even though it expected profit to be up on last year, its trading profit was coming under pressure due to the rapid changes in the industry.

“The most obvious of these changes is the channel shift from shops to online,” it said in a statement. “The other major influence is pricing, where deflation continues in food and non-food, despite rising input costs as a result of weakness in the Sterling exchange rate.”

The group said it would speed up aspects of its strategy, which would involve a period of significant change, investment and innovation. It did not say how much it would spend on the programme.

Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Sarah Young

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