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John Lewis boss warns UK could be facing double-digit inflation

By Rachel Douglass

Mar 21, 2022

Business

Image: John Lewis Partnership

The chair of John Lewis Partnership Sharon White has predicted a double-digit inflation in the UK as a potential result of the war in Ukraine, which is currently causing a price rise in supply chains and on in-store products.

White’s statement comes as the UK currently faces an inflation at a 30-year high of 5.5 percent, with an additional expected rise of almost eight percent by April.

The boss of both John Lewis and supermarket chain Waitrose said in an interview, on BBC’s Radio 4 programme: “Everything you can see in terms of energy prices from the impact of the Ukraine war, suggests that we might well end up with double-digit inflation. My big worry is that it ends out being more enduring than anyone expects. So I think inflation is the big macroeconomic washout.”

White also commented on John Lewis’s decision to pay staff a three percent bonus, a move it was not able to make the year prior due to store closures, as it saw its profits soar.

“We kept that relief, that exemption from tax, we used that exactly for the purposes intended, which was to secure jobs and to avoid further restructuring,” White said. “So I make no apologies for paying the bonus to partners who have worked their socks off over the last year.”

John Lewis