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John Lewis Sees Slower Growth in 2013 After 16% Profit Increase

John Lewis Partnership Plc, owner of the U.K.’s largest department-store chain, said annual earnings rose 16 percent and increased its staff bonus amid surging online revenue and higher sales of electronics products.

Pretax profit climbed to 410 million pounds ($615 million) in the year ended Jan. 26, after declining to 354 million pounds a year earlier, the employee-owned company said today. The staff bonus was raised by 28 percent to 211 million pounds.

The retailer has extended the product range on its website and rolled out collection points in its department stores and Waitrose supermarkets to make shopping more convenient for customers. Sales growth will decelerate this year as the consumer environment “remains subdued,” the company said.

“We expect our sales growth to continue this year, albeit less strongly than in 2012/13,” the retailer said.

Sales in the first five weeks of the current fiscal year rose 11 percent. The Waitrose grocery chain increased sales 8.1 percent, while revenue at John Lewis department stores gained 16 percent, or 14 percent at stores open at least a year.

The British Retail Consortium reported February retail sales growth was the strongest in three years, rising 2.7 percent on a same-store basis.

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