Waitrose has warned of significant trading pressures ahead

Waitrose has spent £45.9m on property writedowns and restructuring over the past year, its annual accounts have revealed.

The retailer was hit by a £41.5m one-off cost related to the writedown of property, “other assets and costs”, as it focused on improving its existing estate rather than aggressive expansion, accounts filed to 28 January revealed.

Stores and abortive property project costs accounted for £13.9m of the sum.

The remaining £4.4m went on one-off restructuring and redundancy costs.

Despite the one-off charge, Waitrose still reported £100.7m in pre-tax profits, up from the previous year’s slump to £66.6m as the supermarket slugged it out in a brutal price war with the big four and the discounters and incurred rising pension costs.

Like-for-like sales decreased by 0.2% as Waitrose warned of “significant one-off costs” and trading pressures ahead.

Waitrose managed to make savings in its partnership bonus, which fell from £80.1m in 2016 to £49.8m in 2017.

However, pay to its seven highest-paid directors was up from £2.9m to £3.3m as it awarded £988,523 to outgoing boss Mark Price in lieu of salary, car, pension and other benefits, as well as a £237,132 sum for loss of office. The salary for new MD Rob Collins was not disclosed.