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18 Mar 2019 | 09:40

John Lewis of Hungerford swings to loss as sales fall by more 20%

Retailer John Lewis of Hungerford swung to a first-half loss as turnover fell by more than a fifth, though the retailer said it expected to recover losses by the time it reports full year results in June.

For the six months ended 31 December 2018, the company reported a loss of £0.34m compared with a profit of £0.24m from a year earlier. Turnover fell 23% to £0.37m. Additional margin pressures arose from a continued shift in our product mix towards higher value appliances and worktops, attracting lower margins, together with a higher component of Bedrooms in the half year, now representing 8% of revenue, the company said. The company had decided to apply price increases to new business across both Kitchens and Bedrooms from 1 July 2019, as inflationary pressures reported in the results for the 10 months ended 30 June 2018 continued. The company said it expected to recover the bulk, if not all, of its losses, citing improvements seen in the first quarter and second quarter had continued into the third quarter showing strong like-for-like performance and a ;broadly comparable forward order book.' Dispatched sales and the forward order book at the end of the half year stood at £5.0m, down from £5.8m a year earlier. Future orders against which a first stage deposit had been taken were ahead of the prior year at £1.8m against £1.0m. 'Our business remains sensitive to the prevailing market conditions within the retail and home improvement sectors and as such, the Board continues to monitor the situation closely. At this time, we remain confident that we expect to recover much, if not all, of the first half loss for the year ended 30 June 2019,' the company said.

At 9:40am: (LON:JLH) John Lewis of Hungerford PLC share price was +0.03p at 0.65p

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