The boss of John Lewis has hit out at Brexit secretary Dominic Raab after he said companies should not blame Brexit for poor results.
Sir Charlie Mayfield said he "didn't say Brexit was the reason" for a 99% slide in half-year profits. "The fact is sterling is weaker, it's more expensive to import goods... so we have to absorb that within our margin," he said.
"I'm not going to get into some sort of ding-dong with the secretary of state." Dominic Raab told said it was a mistake for "business that aren't doing so well to blame Brexit".
"I don't doubt that some of the uncertainty around these negotiations will have an impact on business - that's why we are putting all our energy into getting the good deal we want with our EU friends and partners," he said. "All I am just gently saying is that it's rather easy for a business to blame Brexit and the politicians rather than take responsibility for their own situation."
Mr Raab's comments appear to have been in response to Sir Charlie's warning in John Lewis's half-year results that "with the level of uncertainty facing consumers and the economy, in part due to ongoing Brexit negotiations, forecasting is particularly difficult". The owner of the John Lewis department store chain and Waitrose said it continued to expect annual profits to be "substantially lower than last year".