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British retail company John Lewis Partnership, which owns and operates the John Lewis and Waitrose brands, has reported a £99m ($113.1m) loss before tax for the first half (H1) of fiscal 2022/23 (FY22/23).

The retailer made a loss before tax and exceptional items of £92m, compared with a £69m profit in the same period of last year.

The results were attributed mainly to cost inflation, the UK’s cost of living crisis and a relaxation of Covid-19 shopping patterns among others.

Although the John Lewis brand recorded a 3% like-for-like (LFL) sales growth to £2.1bn during the period, Waitrose’s sales were down 5% to £3.6bn year-on-year (YoY).

Despite the drop in sales, Waitrose’s H1 transactions increased by 14% YoY and its online sales represented 15% of its total sales.

Total customer numbers for Waitrose and John Lewis rose by 6% to 13.4 million and 4% to 12.2 million respectively in the six-month period.

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By GlobalData

John Lewis maintained its trading operating profit at £295m from last year, while Waitrose saw its trading operating profit fall by £93m to £432m during the period.

In response to rising inflation, John Lewis Partnership has pledged to pay its full-time staff a one-off cost-of-living support payment of £500.

The company will also increase the entry-level pay for its Partners by 4%, which will cost £10m in the second half of the year.

John Lewis Partnership chairman Sharon White said: “We are responding to the cost-of-living crisis by supporting those who need it and by stepping up our efficiency programme.

“We are forgoing profit by making choices based on the sort of business we are, led by our Purpose – ‘Working in Partnership for a happier world’ – by helping our Partners, customers, communities and suppliers.”

Last September, John Lewis Partnership announced plans to hire more than 7,000 temporary workers across the UK.