Retailer John Lewis could not mitigate no-deal Brexit

LONDON, Sept 12 (Reuters) - British retailer John Lewis said on Thursday it would be unable to mitigate a possible no-deal Brexit which could worsen already difficult trading conditions after first-half operating losses at the group’s department store widened.

Operating losses before exceptionals for its department store chain John Lewis & Partners increased by 42.5 million pounds ($52.37 million) to 61.8 million pounds in the six months to July 27. The group, which includes supermarket Waitrose, reported a loss before its partner bonus, tax and one-off costs of 25.9 million pounds.

“Should the UK leave the EU without a deal, we expect the effect to be significant and it will not be possible to mitigate that impact,” said Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership.

“Brexit continues to weigh on consumer sentiment at a crucial time for the sector as we enter the peak trading period.”

$1 = 0.8115 pounds Reporting by Alistair Smout, Editing by Paul Sandle