John Lewis Partnership cuts staff bonus as annual profits plunge

Staff at the John Lewis Partnership will see their bonuses cut for the sixth consecutive year as the retail giant revealed a slump in annual profits.

The group said it will reduce the renowned bonus to 3% of annual salary, with 83,000 partners sharing out a pot worth £44.7 million, down from £74 million the previous year.

It has cut the bonus for six years running now, and the latest figure is down from 5% last year.

The partnership, which includes upmarket supermarket Waitrose, warned in January that it might have to axe the renowned payout for the first time since 1953 as it battles challenging trading conditions.

It came as the group saw profit before tax, exceptionals and bonus plummet 45.4% to £160 million.

While overall revenue climbed 1% to £10.3 billion for the period ending January 26, operating profits were down sharply due to challenges at John Lewis.

Operating profit at the department store fell by 56% to £114.7 million due to weaker home sales, tighter margins, higher IT costs and the cost of new shops.

Like-for-like sales at the brand were down 1.4%.

In contrast, operating profit at Waitrose recovered, climbing 18% to £203.2 million. The supermarket’s like-for-like sales jumped 1.3%.

Chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield said: “In line with expectations set out in June, our Partnership profits before exceptionals have finished substantially lower in what has been a challenging year, particularly in non-food.”

He warned that trading conditions are set to remain challenging in 2019, but that the partnership was “confident in our strategic direction and customer offer across both brands”.

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