John Lewis staff share record bonusSales up at John Lewis and Waitrose group

07 March 2008

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Shoppers prefer John Lewis for toiletries and cosmetics

Around 69,000 staff at department store chain John Lewis will share a record bonus pot of £181.1 million after annual profits rose 19%.

The payout from the partnership, which is co-owned by its employees, is 18% higher than last year and equivalent to more than ten weeks' pay - or a fifth of salary - for each member of staff.

John Lewis's profits before partnership bonus and tax for the year ended January 26 were up £59.7 million to £379.8 million.

Waitrose

Charlie Mayfield, chairman of John Lewis Partnership, said: 'The partnership has had a successful year in a challenging trading environment.'

Staff at the Waitrose supermarket chain, owned by the partnership, will also benefit from the bonus. Last year staff received a windfall equivalent to around nine weeks' pay.

Overall group sales from continuing operations were up 6.3% last year to £6.8 billion.

Sales rose

Waitrose, which contributed the lion's share of just under £4 billion, saw like for like sales rise by 3.6% excluding petrol. The chain has 187 branches across the UK.

Sales at John Lewis, which has 26 department stores and an online operation, grew 5% on a like-for-like basis to £2.8 billion.

Growth was seen across the business, the group said, with electrical and home technology up 6%, home up 5.5% and fashion ahead 4.6%.

'Challenging conditions'

Mr Mayfield said the slowdown in the housing market in the second half of last year had depressed sales of large purchases in the home market, with this trend continuing into the new financial year.

Total sales for the five weeks to March 1 were up 2% at John Lewis, but 8% higher at Waitrose, he said.

Mr Mayfield said: 'We expect trading conditions to be very challenging this year as consumers continue to respond to concerns about the housing market, higher food and energy costs and tighter credit conditions.'

He added that the group was set on expansion over the next five years, with partner numbers forecast to rise to 85,000.

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