John Lewis Partnership has reported a rise in pre-tax profit in the half year ended 31 July, with gross sales also rising significantly.

Gross sales were reported as rising 12.4 per cent to £3.8 billion in the period while pre-tax profit increased 28 per cent to £110.5 billion.

JLP said that it had invested £154.8 million into new branches in the half year period and had created a net 1,900 new jobs.

At JLP's Waitrose stores gross sales were up 11.3 per cent to £2.4 billion while operating profit increased 6.2 per cent to £127.8 million.

At John Lewis stores gross sales increased 14.5 per cent to £1.4 billion while operating profit rose 76.8 per cent to £35.9 million.

Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of John Lewis Partnership, said, "This has been a strong first half performance by the Partnership. We took decisions during the recession to invest in existing shops, in new formats, in multi-channel and in 'value' and we are now seeing the benefits coming through."

He added, "The Partnership's ownership model enables us to focus on the long term and we will continue to move ahead with our plans. Despite the economic headwinds, and tougher comparables in the second half, I am confident that both Waitrose and John Lewis will continue to grow ahead of the market."