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John Lewis expects positive second half

Shoppers pass in front of John Lewis department store in Oxford Street in central London, January 4, 2012. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly

LONDON (Reuters) - Retailer John Lewis said on Thursday it expected to trade positively in the second half of the year after posting a 4 percent rise in first-half profit due to a strong performance from its supermarkets and department stores.

The employee-owned group said underlying pre-tax profit in the six months to July 27 was up 3.9 percent to 115.8 million pounds. Group revenue climbed 7.5 percent to 4.2 billion pounds.

"The Partnership has had a strong first half ... slightly ahead of our expectations due to a good trading performance in both businesses," Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of John Lewis Partnership, said in a statement.

"Looking ahead, I'm encouraged by progress this year and am confident of the plans we have in place for Christmas. Despite a strong second half last year, both during the Olympics and at Christmas, I expect us to trade positively in the second half."

Like-for-like sales were up 6.9 percent at the upmarket Waitrose supermarket chain while sales were up 5.1 percent at the John Lewis department store.

However, taking into account an exceptional item of 47.3 million pounds following a review of holiday pay policy, which had already been announced, profits were down 38.5 percent.

(Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Sarah Young/Keith Weir)