John Lewis, a renowned department store and supermarket retailer in the UK, is currently facing immense difficulties as a result of the cost-of-living crisis. This crisis has not only surpassed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic but also mirrors the challenging conditions experienced in the 1970s. Chair of John Lewis, Sharon White, acknowledged these tough times and highlighted the various factors that have exacerbated the situation for the retailer.

One of the unique circumstances that have intensified the crisis for John Lewis is its higher staff levels compared to its competitors. With more employees to support, the cost-of-living crisis has had a “probably more profound” impact on the company compared to the recent pandemic. Additionally, John Lewis’ employee-owned structure has also played a role in exacerbating the crisis.

These remarks were made by White at Bloomberg’s Equality Summit, following the release of John Lewis’ trading figures. The figures revealed a significant loss of £99 million in the first half of the year. This loss is attributed to customers spending less due to the rising costs associated with the cost-of-living crisis and mounting inflationary pressure.

Looking ahead, White anticipates even more difficulties in the next six to twelve months for the company. Inflation is expected to persist, further impacting John Lewis’ performance. White informed the staff that substantial improvement in performance is required for the John Lewis Partnership to generate enough profit to share a partnership bonus with its employees.

The cost-of-living crisis has taken everyone by surprise, with energy prices and inflation exceeding all expectations. John Lewis has been grappling with substantial cost inflation across both its grocery and general merchandise sectors. These challenges pose significant obstacles for the retailer moving forward.

It remains uncertain how John Lewis will navigate these difficult times and overcome the obstacles posed by inflation and rising costs. However, it is clear that the company will need to implement strategies to adapt to the current circumstances and ensure its long-term sustainability.

Useful links:
1. John Lewis Official Website
2. Bloomberg