John Lewis pledges "significant" investment in as profits dip for third straight year

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by David Prior

John Lewis has pledged to invest "significantly" in as it unveiled a dip in profits for the third year in a row.

The retailer, which also owns Waitrose, has launched a review of the business and announced that staff bonuses would be set at 2%, the lowest level since 1953.

Profits at the partnership were down by 23% last year to £123m, with revenue dipping by 1.6% to £10.2bn.

The news comes as Waitrose gets ready to separate from Ocado in September, with the online-only supermarket having opted to partner with Marks & Spencer instead.

The deal has seen Ocado deliver around 4,500 Waitrose goods, with M&S buying a 50% share of Ocado's retail business for £750m.

And today Sharon White, John Lewis chairman, said the company would be recruiting 2,400 new roles and building a new fulfilment centre in Enfield to meet "increased demand for Waitrose products online".

She said: "All of us are aware of the challenges in retail. New technology means that shoppers have never had so much choice, value and convenience. That is to be celebrated. And there is great opportunity for retailers who have an intimate understanding of their customers to respond to them in an agile fashion."

White described the overall results as a "weaker performance than we had hoped for", driven by "significantly reduced" profitability in John Lewis.