Waitrose Reveals Decline In Annual Profits

Waitrose has reported a fall in full-year profits despite total sales exceeding £4 billion for the first time in 2008.
The upmarket retailer, recently voted the UK’s favourite supermarket, said operating profit fell by 3.4 per cent to £211.6m after like-for-like sales, excluding petrol, rose by a mere 0.4 per cent in the year to 31 January 2009. Total sales rose 5.2 per cent to just over £4 billion.
Commenting on the results, Charlie Mayfield, chairman of parent company John Lewis Partnership, said: “It was a very tough year and we met the challenges of the deteriorating conditions.”
“We controlled costs tightly, traded confidently and stayed true to our customer promise of quality and price competitiveness.
He added: “We invested heavily in price, with over £30 million in price reductions and 8,400 promotions, an increase of 25 per cent on the previous year.”
John Lewis recently announced a massive 26 per cent fall in pre-tax profits to £279.6 million.
However, the group’s 69,000 workforce, including all Waitrose staff, are reported to be “delighted” with the unexpected 13 per cent salary bonus announced by the Partnership – equal to seven weeks’ pay.
Mayfield continued: “Our bonus is a real bonus, which reflects the actual performance of the business in the year it is awarded. Other businesses reward in advance of value created. We don’t do that.”

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