Leeds flagship John Lewis store ‘will champion local brands’



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Leeds’s new £150m John Lewis store will be looking for local suppliers to boost its fashion ranges when it opens its doors later this year.

The ​Victoria Gate outlet is on track to open this autumn and it has already started the recruitment process.

And managing director Andy Street told the Yorkshire Evening Post today: “We are looking forward to opening a flagship store in Leeds, the retail capital of the North.

“The store will have new fashion concepts and we’ll be introducing unknown fashion brands. We will also be looking for local fashion suppliers.

“We’ll be bringing brands to Leeds that aren’t there already.”

Victoria Gate will be one of the John Lewis Partnership’s biggest stores outside London.

The scheme is being billed as the latest piece in the jigsaw of the complete regeneration of Leeds city centre.

​Mr Street was speaking as ​the John Lewis Partnership announced an 11 per cent fall in annual profits amid tough trading conditions.

The company made a profit of ​£​306​m for the year to Jan​uary​ 30. That was within guidance of between ​£​270​m and ​£​320​m, but down ​from last year’s £343m.

The group said it would pay its 91,500 staff, ​who ultimately own the company, an annual bonus of 10 per​ ​cent of salary, down from 11 per​ ​cent last year. It said the partnership bonus of £145​m was equivalent to five weeks’ pay.​

John Lewis​ has outperformed ​its ​rivals for ​the past few years. However, ​the latest profits were hit by pension charges that rose by ​£​48.2​m ​on the previous year. Trading conditions w​ill remain difficult, especially in food retailing, but the company expects to perform comparatively well against its rivals.

​The group said it has made a good start to 2016. Its upmarket Waitrose supermarkets recorded a 0.4 per cent rise in like-for-like sales and its John Lewis department stores saw a 3.6 per cent increase in like-for-like sales.