John Lewis

John Lewis has warned it will take a further two years to complete a turnaround of the department store chain and supermarket Waitrose and to return the group to “sustainable profits”, as it posted a further loss in the first half of the year (Financial Times £).

The group, which owns the Waitrose supermarket chain and the upmarket department stores, fell to another loss in the first half of the year, not helped by customers avoiding big-ticket purchases amid the cost of living crunch (The Times £).

However, the retail group said its performance was improving, and its pre-tax loss was 41% lower than the £99m loss reported for the same period a year earlier (The Guardian).

The partnership’s total revenue rose 3%, with Waitrose up 5%, but John Lewis saw its revenue fall by 3% (Mail).

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Dame Sharon White, chairman of the partnership, said: “There’s a road ahead but lots of positive signs so far. The transformation for the partnership will take time.” (Telegraph £).

Dame Sharon White has cast doubt over whether John Lewis staff will be paid a bonus this year, after the retailer admitted its turnaround would take longer than planned (Telegraph £).

The Telegraph (£) reckons John Lewis’s plodding revival leaves question mark over Sharon White’s future.

A business editorial in The Guardian says John Lewis needs to pick up the pace on restructuring. “Every time the partnership lifts the lid on its challenges, there’s an echo of pre-overhaul M&S circa 2017,” Nils Pratley writes.

A column in the Mail says that Marks & Spencer is putting John Lewis in the shade.

Tesco and Sainsbury’s pricing practices have been reported to the competition watchdog after an investigation found their loyalty offers were giving a misleading impression of big savings (The Times £).

Which? says Sainsbury’s and Tesco are inflating the regular price advertised for a product so that the promotional prices offered to loyalty scheme members look like a better deal than they really are (BBC News).

Lidl has plunged to an annual loss in the UK as the discount supermarket counts the cost of aggressive expansion, higher staff costs and price cuts despite growing sales as shoppers seek bargains (Financial Times £).

The discount retailer has spent £100m on price cuts over the past 12 months, which it said had been a “challenging year for millions of households” (The Times £).

Lidl has said it will do “whatever it takes” to beat rivals on price, as the discounter swung to a £76m loss amid a mounting price war between the UK’s biggest grocers (Telegraph £).

Sales jumped by 18.8% to £9.3bn over the year and the group said it increased its share of the supermarket sector (The Guardian).

The discounters’ performance has forced the traditional major players, including market leader Tesco and Sainsbury’s, to compete more aggressively, and they have accepted a profit hit to keep prices down (Mail).

Unilever is among a number of global food producers named and shamed by Carrefour, the French grocery chain, in the increasingly bitter public war of words over “shrinkflation” (The Times £).

It has slapped price warnings on products from Lindt chocolates to Lipton iced tea to pressure top consumer goods suppliers Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever to tackle the issue in advance of much-anticipated contract talks (The Guardian).

The Grocer published a blog on the move by Carrefour earlier this week pointing out that naming and shaming shrinkflation brands is a risky tactic.

The UK logistics industry is split over the cost of post-Brexit border checks on food and fresh produce, heaping pressure on the government as it seeks to finalise the long-delayed measures (Financial Times £).

Shares in THG fell by as much as 20% on Thursday after the ecommerce group lowered its sales forecast for the year, which was held back by high inflation and lacklustre performance in its beauty division (Financial Times £).

Although its underlying earnings came out at the top end of June’s guidance, jumping 46 per cent to £47.1m, its revenues fell from £1.07bn to £969.2m as it exited loss-making categories (The Times £).

The group’s pre-tax losses widened from £108m to £133m in the six months to 30 June (Mail).

Hilton Food Group shares soared on Thursday after the FTSE 250 group signed a deal with Walmart to supply the retail giant’s Canadian hypermarket stores (Mail).

The Mail takes a closer look at the self-styled ‘Del Boy’ entrepreneur behind The Range following the retailer’s deal to save the Wilko brand.

An opinion column by Simon Jenkins in The Guardian argues that developers and their Tory allies are killing the high street. “While local shops in countries such as France are protected, the UK is crippled by lax planning laws and sky-high business rates.”