The John Lewis Partnership has revealed half-year profits crashed 98.8% as it battled against “challenging times” and the most promotional market for nearly a decade.

The owner of the department store chain and supermarket Waitrose posted underlying pre-tax profits of £1.2m for the six months to July 28.

It said profits at John Lewis & Partners have continued to be squeezed by strong competition as it moves to keep prices low despite inflation and has offered “unprecedented” levels of price matching through its Never Knowingly Undersold pledge.

And the group reiterated warnings that it continues to expect profits in the full 2018-19 financial year to be “substantially lower”.

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