UK Facing Double-Digit Inflation, John Lewis Head Predicts | Inflation

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UK Facing Double-Digit Inflation, John Lewis Head Predicts | Inflation

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The head of John Lewis and Waitrose supermarket chain said the UK is facing double-digit inflation as the war in Ukraine exacerbates the soaring cost of living, with prices rising in the supply chain and on the shelves. .

Sharon White, president of the John Lewis Partnership, comes with UK inflation poised to hit a 30-year high of 5.5% and is expected to rise to nearly 8% in April when household energy bills they will go up by hundreds of pounds.

“We’re seeing inflation we haven’t seen in 30 years,” said White, a Cambridge-trained economist and former second permanent secretary to the Treasury, speaking on the BBC’s Radio 4 Today program. “Everything you can see in terms of energy prices from the impact of the war in Ukraine suggests that we could very well end up with double-digit inflation. My big concern is that it will end up being more lasting than anyone expects. So I think inflation is the great macroeconomic washout. “

She was also accused of John Lewis ‘decision to pay all staff a 3% bonus, worth 1.5 weeks’ pay, after reporting a strong rebound in 2021, despite deciding not to repay £ 58 million. in tax breaks accepted by the government to withstand the worst of the pandemic two years ago.

“We kept that relief, that tax exemption, we used it exactly for its intended purpose, which was to secure jobs and avoid further restructuring,” he said. “So I don’t apologize for paying the bonus to the partners who have been busy over the last year.”

In 2020, for the first time in 67 years, the John Lewis Partnership failed to pay the staff, which it calls partners, a bonus as the company was forced to close some stores after reporting a loss of £ 517 million.

“I think it was the right thing that we were able to pay a bonus to the partners based on the results,” he said. “I feel very comfortable morally, it absolutely was the right decision,” White said.

He also said the organization is continuing to examine its supply chain to see if the ban on the sale of Russian products in its stores, announced earlier this month, could be extended to other products or suppliers.

“We’ve removed Russian vodka from Waitrose shelves and Russian-made pallets that go into outdoor pizza ovens [sold] in John Lewis, “he said.” Everything that is produced in Russia is off the shelves. And then, because supply chains are really complicated, we’re looking into whether there are other products that we need to take off the shelves as well. “

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